UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics


Family Friendly Policies



UCL policy sets out the entitlements and support available to pregnant employees and to those on, and returning from, maternity leave.

Once you have told your Line Manager that you are pregnant, they must review the existing risk assessment(s) for your work and consider any risks to your own health and safety, or that of your unborn child.

Further information on risk assessments can be found below:

UCL also offers support to pregnant students, and more information can be found on the student page below:


Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave is a new right that will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed. This could mean that the mother or adopter shares some of the leave with her partner, perhaps returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.   You can take shared parental leave with your spouse, civil partner or partner. Partner is defined as someone (whether of a different sex or the same sex) who lives with you in an enduring family relationship (but who is not your child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew).

UCL Resources for parents

Below are UCL Resources which may be helpful:-

1. UCL Nursey- The UCL Day Nursery provides high quality childcare and nursery education, giving priority to the development needs and happiness of our children and their families in a safe, nurturing and stimulating care environment.

2. Parents and Carers Network, UCL - a social network that aims to support UCL staff members who are balancing ongoing caring responsibilities with work. It is a peer support group led by network members for members so new ideas and activities are always welcomed and encouraged.

Paternity/Partners Leave

The partner of the mother or primary adoptive parent may take paid leave of up to 20 working days, pro rata for part time staff. This can be taken from 3 months before the EWC or the date of adoption and up to 3 months afterwards. Paternity/Partner's Leave and Pay (PL/P) does not have to be taken at one time and can be spread over this 6 month period. There is no qualifying length of service for entitlement to PL/P. An employee cannot take PL once a period of ShPL has commenced.


Flexible Working

Are you struggling with maintaining a work/life balance?
We, the EDI Committee, would like to bring to your attention the possibility to change the way you work for UCL to meet your needs.  Please be aware that not all requests are able to be agreed. However, all will be looked at on an individual basis and if unsuccessful, a full reasoning behind the decision will be given.  Please see the UCL Work-Life Balance Policy August 21 here:


Flexible working options:

Flexitime - schemes usually involve individuals working a set of "core hours" in which they are obliged to attend work, with periods either side of the core, within which they can choose their arrival and departure times.

Annualised Hours - under this option, working time is organised on the basis of the number of hours worked over a year rather than a week.

Term-time working - this is a variation on annualised hours in that the hours worked coincide with school or UCL terms only. Such working arrangements are usually only suited to those activities where the activity of the post is only during the academic term.

Shift Working - Shift working operates in some parts of UCL such as in the Security service where 24 hour cover is needed. Where shift working is in operation, a formal structure within which staff can swap occasional shifts with colleagues can enable staff to address individual domestic commitments.

Rota working/staggered hours - This option enables the agreement of a fixed pattern of starting and finishing times for each individual and enables members of a team to cover the work required in an office or lab for a longer working day than might otherwise be the case if everyone followed the same working pattern.

Job share - is a particular form of part-time working, where all aspects of a job are shared between two or more people.

Job splitting - is also a form of job share in which the range of tasks within a role are split between two or more staff.

Part-time working - this option allows employees to reduce their working hours to enable them to meet temporary or permanently increased responsibilities outside work.

Flexible retirement and part-time working - members of the USS Pension Scheme may apply for flexible retirement (subject to eligibility) and take part of their pension benefits if they reduce their working hours.

Planned remote working Please see the Remote Working Pilot Policy and Guidance and The Interim People Management Guidance on returning to camps following the arrangements during the coronavirus pandemic. Further information is also available in the Hybrid Working FAQs.

Compressed hours - Staff agree to work longer hours on some days to a total of 36.5 hours a week, allowing to work only 4 days for example.

Career Breaks - Within the existing Policy on Leave for Domestic and Personal Reasons, staff with caring responsibilities can request unpaid leave for a period of up to 6 months to care for someone who is seriously ill. In addition to this, staff with two years; service may request an unpaid career break from their post for a period of up to 12 months to care for a family member or to undertake career or personal development.


Flexible working request

If you wish to apply for flexible working, fill out this form and give it to your line manager.  All forms must be copied to the main office.


Flexible working advocates

There are two named people at the Department, Dimitra Stamogiannou (Departmental Manager) and Lauren Stevens (HR Business Partner), who can be approached to give advice to anyone wishing to request flexible working, or who has had a request rejected and needs help to move forward.


Employee Assistance programme - UCL recognises that unexpected problems can arise that threaten to disrupt work-life balance. At these times, immediate confidential access to sources of information and support can help staff to deal with problems before they get out of hand. UCL provides an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to give practical advice, and where appropriate, emotional support to help staff manage problems effectively. The service is accessed through a free and confidential telephone helpline. Staff and their immediate families can call the helpline 24 hours a day. Examples of issues that staff may wish to seek help with are family-care, domestic, legal (excluding employment issues), financial, emotional, or relationship problems. More details can be found on the UCL Occupational Health and Wellbeing web pages.

Flexible Working Case Studies

Here we have a couple of Departmental case studies where flexible working has been approved:

Duncan Rust, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer

Duncan Rust
“I live in the west country, travelling up to work for the week. It was agreed I could compress my five day week into four days allowing me to return home for a three day weekend with my family. The nuts and bolts of it is I work four long days with the total hours for the week being the same.”

Samantha Babister, PA to Head of Department, MSSL

Samantha Babister
Samantha Babister was thrilled to discover that working for UCL / MSSL meant that she could work a shortened lunch break each day and have time to drop her daughter at school every morning instead of using breakfast clubs.

Working in the general office which is open from 8.00 am to 5.30 pm each day and shares these hours between a team of 4 means that she can cover the “later” hours and still leave on time by shortening her lunchbreaks.

“I start work at 9.30 each morning which (because I live so locally) gives me time to drop my daughter to school each day before I jump in the car to come to work. This flexibility means that I can manage my work and home life and still be a big part of my daughter’s day.”

Flexible working request
If you wish to apply for flexible working, fill out this form and give it to your line manager.  All forms must be copied to the main office.

Flexible working request

MAPS Caring Fund - For working parents

As part of the MAPS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan for the period 2019-2022 the MAPS Caring Fund is being relaunched.  The aim of this fund is to enable all staff (academics, researchers, teaching fellows, professional services staff, technical staff) and PhD students with caring responsibilities, to attend meetings, conferences, workshops and work events outside normal working patterns.

The Faculty has allocated £5,000 per annum and applications will be considered throughout the year until the fund is exhausted. 

If you have any questions, please contact the MAPS vice-Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Alexandra Olaya-Castro ( a.olaya@ucl.ac.uk) or email maps.caring@ucl.ac.uk

    Adoption Leave

    The primary adoptive parent is entitled to the same provision in terms of service requirements, pay, amount of leave, return to work, etc. as per the UCL Maternity Leave arrangements.  The partner of the primary adoptive parent is entitled to the same provisions as per UCL Paternity/Partner’s leave.  Employees who are prospective primary adopters may take paid time off in order to attend up to five adoption meetings. Employees who are adopting a child with someone else who is the primary adopter, are entitled to take unpaid time off in order to attend up to two such meetings.  Further information can be found below:

    Keeping in Touch (KIT) Days

    An employee and their manager can (in cases of Maternity / Adoption Leave) agree up to 10 'Keeping in Touch' (KIT) days and a maximum per employee of 20 ‘Shared Parental Leave in Touch' (SPLIT) days. Either the line manager or the employee can suggest the use of these days but they must be agreed by the line manager. Line managers will only agree to a KIT or SPLIT day when the day can be structured to ensure that it is used productively. Any work undertaken on a KIT or SPLIT day will be treated as either a full or half-day.

    TOIL days should be agreed directly with the line manager to be taken on the employee's return from ML, AL or ShPL.  KIT and SPLIT days not taken are not added to annual leave entitlement.

    Sabbatical Leave

    In addition to the provisions of the UCL Parental Leave and Pay Policy and to mark its commitment to gender equality in academic careers, research active academic employees returning from ML, AL or ShPL (where any of these individually or combined totals more than 3 months duration) are entitled to take one term of Sabbatical Leave, without teaching commitments, in accordance with the principles set out in the Sabbatical Leave Policy. This leave will enable staff more quickly to re-establish research activity. 

    Annual Leave or Leave for Domestic Reasons

    The leave year runs from 1st October until 30th September.  Full-time staff are entitled to 27 days annual leave.  In addition, there are public holidays plus additional days when UCL is customarily closed.  These entitlements are pro-rata for part-time staff.

    Other leave such as time off for caring responsibilities, medical appointments, bereavement leave etc. are coverd under the leave for domestic and personal reasons: