UCL Human Resources


Important policy changes including Safeguarding, Flexible Working and Carer’s Leave

4 April 2024

Important changes have been made to several UCL policies including Safeguarding, Paternity/Partner's Leave, Flexible Working and Carer’s Leave.

Portico with people

The HR Policy Team have undertaken a review and amended UCL’s Safeguarding Policy, following consultation with our stakeholders. Below is an update on the important changes that we have made.

We have also updated several of UCL’s policies, in light of upcoming changes in employment legislation. These come into effect from 6 April 2024.

Policy updates

Safeguarding Policy

The Safeguarding Policy has been reviewed as part of the review of UCL’s values and behaviour-based policies. Some minor amendments have been made to this policy including updating definitions and terminology, including examples of safeguarding allegations and widening the scope of the policy to ensure it is clear that everyone across the UCL community has a shared commitment in supporting UCL to meet its commitment to safeguarding children and adults at risk.

6 April 2024 legislative changes

Paternity/Partner’s Leave

Fathers and partners of children who are born or adopted after 6 April 2024 can now take paternity/partner’s leave up to 52 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child (rather than it being limited to being taken within the first 8 weeks). Leave must be taken in one-week blocks and employees can give 28 days’ notice of the dates they would like to take their leave, rather than 15 weeks ahead (if adopting, the notification timescales have not changed). A reminder that Paternity/Partner’s Leave must be exhausted before any shared parental leave is taken in relation to the same child.

Carer’s Leave

UCL currently provides 5 days paid Carer’s Leave (pro-rata) to deal with unexpected emergencies involving a dependent or to accompany a dependent to an appointment, as well as a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to also use in these circumstances.

The Government has introduced a new right to one week’s unpaid time off to care for a dependent with a long-term health condition or disability. Because UCL already offers paid and unpaid carer’s leave, employees can use their existing entitlement (or part thereof) for this purpose and can also continue using it for the purpose of dealing with unexpected situations and planned appointments, as mentioned.

Please read the Special Leave Policy for further information and how to request and record carer’s leave.

Extended redeployment rights for parents

Employees on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave currently have priority status in a redundancy situation, should there be a suitable job available and they should be offered this job first, before other redeployees.

This priority status now extends to pregnant employees and to those who have recently returned from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave (up to a certain point). For full details on this change to policy, please read the Redeployment Policy.

Flexible Working Policy

In addition to the recent changes to the Flexible Working Policy, further changes are being introduced:

i) Employees will now have the right to make 2 flexible working requests in a 12-month period.

ii) The overall timeframe to respond to a flexible working request, including any appeal, has been reduced from 3 months to 2 months. This means that the timescales for UCL’s procedure for handling flexible working requests have had to be modified to reflect this change. The following timeframe must be followed for any requests submitted after 6 April 2024:

  • 21 calendar days for the line manager to consider the request and provide an outcome.
  • 7 calendar days for the employee to appeal.
  • The remaining 1 month will be available to organise any appeal hearing and provide the appeal outcome.

For further information, please read the Flexible Working Policy.

For any queries, please contact HR Policy Team.