Reduced workload for staff returning from family related leave

The School recognises the need for staff returning from family-related leave to integrate back into work while balancing their changed circumstances at home. This policy is designed to support staff returning from maternity, parental, partner and adoption leave (collectively referred to as “family-related leave”)

The following policy applies across the School for:

    • academic
    • research
    • professional services staff

and applies to those staff who have had 8 or more weeks of continuous family-related leave.  Such leave taken that is fewer than 8 weeks should be managed directly between the individual and their line manager. 

The 8 week period is the family-related leave period and excludes annual leave taken before or after the family-related leave.


Discussion regarding reduced load when a member of the School returns from family-related leave of more than 8 weeks of continuous leave should occur as early as possible, although it is recognised that individuals have specific dates that they are required to formally notify their return to work date outlined in University Policy. For example, individuals on maternity leave do not need to notify until 8 weeks before their return to work date, but this varies depending on the type of family-related leave.

Earlier informal indications and discussion allow for planning within the School to support both the returning individual and their colleagues.


  1. The School will provide a reduced workload for staff returning from a family-related leave of more than 8 weeks continuous leave. This is intended to support individuals:
  • integrate back into work and changes that may have occurred while they have been away, 
  • adjust to changes to their home environment 
  • in the case of academic staff, to re-establish their research programme. 
  1. The reduced workload will be for a period of time that is reflective of the time they have been away from the School on such family-related leave, to a maximum of 6 months. As a guide someone who has been away for:
  • 12 months would be allocated a reduced workload for 6 months;
  • 4 months would be allocated a reduced workload for 2 months;
  • 8 months would be allocated reduced workload for 4 months;
  • 8 weeks would be allocated reduced workload for 1 month.
  1. The reduced workload will be up to 25% of duties following the staff member’s return to work (which may be after agreed leave).  The duties to be reduced will be agreed between the staff member and their line manager; the expectation is that for academic staff the relief will be from teaching and admin duties. 
  2. The reduced workload is not intended to be reduced FTE or time off at home (which would be negotiated via a flexible working arrangement). It is intended as a reduced workload within the individual's contracted hours and in addition to any flexible working arrangements that may be requested and agreed to.
  3. Where possible, an individual returning from family-related leave should be allocated responsibility for duties they undertook before taking their leave (eg. a course they have taught before, an admin duty that they are familiar with or may be slightly lighter than they would otherwise undertake), rather than allocated new duties that may place them under additional pressure.
  4. These guidelines will be applied in consultation between the individual and their line manager, with the final decision resting with the line manager. Where the individual disagrees with the line manager's decision, they can escalate the matter to the Deputy Head of School (academic and research staff) and Director of Professional Services (professional services staff) or Head of School where the line manager is the Deputy Head of School or Director of Professional Services.
  5. The application of these guidelines will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual and the School/University needs, and an individual has the right to refuse a reduced workload