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Unpaid Leave of Absence
Unpaid leave of absence- guidance on processing requests
Unpaid Leave of Absence requests must be agreed with the Head of Department (including details of dates and reason for the leave) who should then copy his/her agreement to the Departmental Administrator or equivalent. The administrator should submit the request via the Service In Partnership (SiP) system to HR Employment Contract Administration, at least one month prior to the expected start date. Once the SiP form is submitted, HR will make the necessary adjustments and stop payments to the employee for the duration of the unpaid period. In cases where an absence is anticipated to be longer than one academic year departments must take advice from HR Advisory Team.
Note: The unpaid leave of absence process must not be used to book maternity or annual leave.
Reason for absence
In this section please give a brief description of the reason for the unpaid leave. Examples of situations where a request for unpaid leave may be appropriate are outlined below:
- Career breaks (agreed via the process outlined in the UCL Work/ Life Balance Policy). For example these breaks could be used for periods of personal or career related development.
- Unpaid parental leave (please see the Leave for Domestic and Personal reasons guidance for more information)
- Unpaid carers' leave (please see the Leave for Domestic and Personal reasons guidance for more information)
Pension Scheme Rules
For further information regarding the financial implications of any of the following options during the unpaid period, please contact UCL Pensions Services.
Please note the specific pension rules which apply to unpaid leave:
- Superannuation Arrangement for the University of London (SAUL)
SAUL provides death and ill health cover during periods of unpaid leave. No pensionable service credit will be provided to a SAUL member for the unpaid leave period.
- Universities Pension Scheme (USS)
USS members may voluntarily maintain death and ill health retirement cover within USS by electing to pay a Special Contribution during an unpaid leave period. No pensionable service credit will be provided to a USS member for the unpaid leave period.
If USS members are interested in paying a special contribution to maintain death and ill health retirement cover, the DA should be informed of this and ensure it is appropriately indicated on the leave of absence form. Pension Services will forward the employee a USS Special Contribution application form.
- National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS)
NHSPS Regulations allow a member who commences a period of authorised leave (including a career break where the contract of employment is retained), to choose to remain pensionable for a period of up to 6 months. Where the authorised leave is to be pensionable UCL will treat you as an active member of the Scheme and ensure that employee and employer pension contributions are paid continuously throughout the 6-month period. If you decide not to pay pension contributions your last day of Scheme membership will be recorded as the day before the leave commences.
If you pay contributions continuously during the first six months you may continue to pension the leave for a further period of up to 18 months. Should you wish to continue contributing to the Scheme during the additional period you will be responsible for both the employee and employer pension contributions.
Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
AVCs will be suspended during periods of unpaid leave.
updated January 2014
HR Strategy and Planning