Time off for Public and Civic Duties Policy
UCL policy on time off for public and civic duties.
1. Purpose and aim
1.1 UCL recognises that from time to time, employees will have commitments and responsibilities outside of work in order to undertake public and civic duties, either in a professional capacity, or on a mandatory or voluntary basis.
1.2 UCL understands the importance of these commitments and is supportive to these situations. UCL strives to balance the business demands of UCL whilst ensuring that requests for time off are granted where appropriate and when there is a statutory right to request it.
1.3 This policy sets out how time off for public and civic duties may be managed and how requests for time off will be dealt with. This policy should be read in conjunction with any Disclosure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest policy in place from time to time. Employees should ensure that they comply with the terms of any Disclosure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest policy prior to accepting and starting, and whilst carrying out, any duties or appointments covered by this policy.
3. General principles
3.1 Employees must give their manager as much notice as possible of any time off work required to undertake public or civic duties.
3.2 Employees will normally be asked to provide evidence of their appointment to public or civic duties to their manager.
3.3 Where time off from UCL is unpaid, the employee may be able to claim loss of earnings from the Court or relevant body, subject to their own rules and if permitted. Employees may also choose to use some of their annual leave entitlement, if they wish to do so, subject to the normal annual leave authorisation process.
3.4 In situations where employees are entitled to continue to be paid by UCL during their time off work, normal salary will be paid less any amounts (other than expenses see 3.5 below) that the employee can claim or otherwise receives from the Court or relevant body.
3.5 Employees may in certain circumstances claim expenses, such as travel expenses, directly from the Court or relevant body in line with their own rules, if permitted.
3.6 Employees’ continuous service with UCL will not be broken during any period of time off for public and civic duties.
3.7 If the employee's services are not required for any part or whole day that they are absent to undertake public or civic duties, or if the duties end before the expected date, they should return to work unless otherwise agreed in writing with their line manager.
3.8 Once requests have been discussed and agreed with their line manager, employees must submit the request via MyHR employee self-service.
3.8.1 Where the time off is to be paid, employees should select “paid public service duties” from the “Absence type” drop down menu. They should then select the most relevant absence reason from the “Absence Reason” drop down menu. This request will automatically be sent to the line manager for electronic approval.
3.8.2 Where the time off is unpaid, employees should select “unpaid leave” from the “Absence type” drop down menu. They should then select the most relevant absence reason from the “Absence Reason” drop down menu. This request will automatically be sent to the line manager for electronic approval and then on to payroll for processing.
3.9 Where specific levels of provision are quoted in this document, these should be adjusted on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees where appropriate.
3.10 All appointments for public duties, or roles elsewhere must be declared in accordance with the Disclosure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest (or equivalent) policy that is in place from time to time.
3.11 For details on how pensions may be affected by any periods of unpaid leave, please refer to the unpaid leave page on the HR Intranet.
4.1 Jury service
4.1.1 Employees are required to provide a copy of the court summons and any other relevant documentation to their manager on receipt of these documents from the Court.
4.1.2 Line Managers can ask the employee to request a deferral from Jury Service if their absence from work will have a serious effect on UCL’s business. In these circumstances the employee must complete their deferral application either online or by post, The Line manager can write a letter supporting the employee's application for deferral, explaining why their absence would seriously harm UCL. Further details can be found within the latest Government guidelines
4.2 Voluntary Public Duties
4.2.1 Under s.50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees who hold certain public positions have the right to reasonable unpaid time off during working hours subject to section 3.3 of this policy. The provisions cover:
- Justices of the Peace (also known as magistrates);
- School Governors;
- independent prison monitors in Scotland;
- members of a local authority;
- members of a statutory tribunal;
- members of a relevant health body;
- members of a relevant education body;
- members of the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency;
- members of Scottish Water;
- lay observers of conditions in court custody and under escort;
- members of visiting committees of immigration removal centres; and
- members of visiting committees of immigration short-term holding facilities.
4.2.2 Requests for time off will be considered objectively and on their merits factoring in all of the circumstances, including (but not limited to) whether or not reasonable notice was given, how much time is reasonably required for the activity, how much time off has already been taken by the employee, and how the employee’s absence will affect UCL business.
4.3 Other outside duties
4.3.1 Employees may be asked to sit on committees, boards or other external panels or bodies, as an expert in their field and in connection with their position at UCL. UCL may grant reasonable paid time off work for this activity provided the post is not remunerated. Where the post is remunerated, UCL will grant reasonable unpaid time off.
4.3.2 Academic staff who wish to take time off to carry out consultancy work should refer to the Academic Staff Consultancy Policy, which sets out the terms under which such work may be undertaken.
4.4 Armed forces training and mobilisation
4.4.1 The reserve forces include the Army Reserve, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
4.4.2 Armed forces training camps
126.96.36.199 Employees are entitled to five days paid leave per year for armed forces training, subject to section 3.4 of this policy.
188.8.131.52 Employees are entitled to request a further five days unpaid leave to attend armed forces training camps, subject to section 3.3 of this policy.
184.108.40.206 Requests for time off will be considered objectively and on their merits factoring in all of the circumstances, including (but not limited to) whether or not reasonable notice was given, how much time is reasonably required for the activity, how much time off has already been taken by the employee for armed forces training, and how the employee’s absence will affect UCL business.
220.127.116.11 There may be occasions where members of the Reserve Armed Forces are called up for active service to be mobilised, which can be up to a period of 12 months.
18.104.22.168 UCL can apply to the Ministry of Defence to have a reservist's call-up notice deferred or revoked or for the reservist to be exempted from call-out. The grounds on which UCL may make such an application are that the absence of the reservist for the period of service would cause "serious harm" to the business. The application must be made within seven days of the date of service or deemed service of the call-out notice.
22.214.171.124 The employee will be paid by the Ministry of Defence for time off, and within limits, they may be able to claim back the difference between their salary and the Reservist’s Service pay from the Ministry of Defence, subject to the applicable Ministry of Defence rules. Employees may also be able to claim back expenses from the Ministry of Defence.
126.96.36.199 UCL may be able to claim back from the Ministry of Defence other costs associated with the employee’s absence, such as administration, recruitment and re-training.
188.8.131.52 There is no break in the continuity of an employee's period of employment with UCL if, as a member of the Volunteer Reserve Forces (or of the Regular Reserves), they have been called up (or recalled) for military operations and then exercise their statutory right under the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 to be reinstated in their former job within six months of demobilisation.
However, the days between the employee's call-up and reinstatement do not count when calculating the employee's total period of continuous employment.
184.108.40.206 Reservists do not accrue statutory or contractual annual leave during mobilisation. The reservist will accrue annual leave with the Ministry of Defence while they are mobilised and will be able to take this annual leave before the last day of the period of military service, subject to the applicable Ministry of Defence terms and conditions.
220.127.116.11 The Ministry of Defence pays UCL’s contributions to the employee’s occupational pension scheme (as long as the employee gives an undertaking to continue paying their own contributions to the scheme).
5. Monitoring and review of this policy
The Employee Relations and Policy Team will keep the monitoring and operation of this policy and procedures under review.
This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and UCL may amend it at any time.
Last updated: Monday, August 8, 2022