Unpaid Leave Policy (up to three months)

1.         Scope

1.2     This policy applies to all employees of the University who wish to apply for a period of unpaid leave of up to three months duration and who meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • Completion of probation
  • If the post is externally funded then written permission will need to be obtained from the funding body

1.2     This policy does not apply to requests from academic staff for leave of absence and overseas leave.  Such requests should be submitted in accordance with the Leave of Absence and Overseas Leave Procedure for Academic staff which can be found at: Academic Staff Leave of Absence Procedure


2.         Unpaid Leave

2.1     An employee who wishes to take unpaid leave should complete and submit the Request for Unpaid Leave form to their Institute Manager, Institute Director, Head of Department or Head of Professional Services in the first instance. This request must then be forwarded onto the Director of Human Resources along with the Head of Department’s comments where a final decision will be made. The Unpaid Leave Request form can be found here (Unpaid Leave Request Form). 

2.2     Leave will be granted subject to normal operational requirements. 

2.3     If the period of leave requested is greater than 3 months, the employee should apply for time off using the University’s Career Break Policy.

2.4     In some circumstances unpaid leave may not be the most appropriate arrangement for the employee. In such instances alternative arrangements more appropriate to the individual case may be agreed between the employee and their Head of Department. Alternative arrangements could include leave in accordance with the University’s policies for Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Paternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave, Parental Leave, Compassionate, Emergency Time Off, Career Break or Flexible Working. The suitability of any of the above arrangements should be considered as a possible alternative where appropriate. If there is any doubt as to the most appropriate policy framework then advice can be sought from the HR Department.


3.         Conditions of service during a period of unpaid leave

3.1     The period of the unpaid leave will count as continuous service.

3.2     During a period of unpaid leave an employee will not accrue contractual annual leave but will accrue the statutory minimum leave entitlement.

3.3     Incremental salary progression will continue during a period of unpaid leave.


4.         Pension Implications

4.1     Unpaid leave is not counted as pensionable service. If an employee chooses to make pension contributions during the period of unpaid leave the payment mechanism will depend on the pension scheme to which they belong.

4.2     Members of the Local Government Pension Scheme must pay pension contributions for the first 30 days of unpaid leave. Employees can pay contributions during further periods of unpaid leave, up to a maximum period of 36 months. The employee pays only their contribution, the employer continues to pay the employer contribution. An application to pay contributions on any period of more than 30 days must be made within 30 days of the end of the period of unpaid leave. The relevant paperwork will be sent to the employee by the Payroll Department.

4.3     During a period of unpaid leave taken by a member of the Aberystwyth University Pensions Plan (AUPP), all contributions will cease. The member can make arrangements with the provider to pay any contributions that employees would have paid had they not been absent.

4.4     Members of the USS Pension Scheme will need to follow the guidance as laid out in the following fact sheet:  https://www.uss.co.uk/~/media/document-libraries/uss/member/factsheets/absence.pdf?la=en


5.         Employees who do not return to work following a period of unpaid leave

5.1     If the employee does not return to work at the end of the period of approved unpaid leave, and no communication has been received from the employee to explain the reason for this, then the employee may be treated as having resigned. The HR Department will, in all instances, write to the employee concerned to ascertain the position before confirming that employment has ended.


5.1     Returning to work following a period of approved unpaid leave

5.2     Employees who take unpaid leave will be entitled to return to the same position.  Where this is not possible, alternative employment, on similar (no less favourable) terms and conditions, may be offered except in the situation that their post is made redundant whilst they are on leave. The Procedure for Redeployment and Redundancy will be applied in such situations.

6.         Paid work for other organisations whilst on unpaid leave

6.1     An employee must notify the University if they undertake paid work for another organisation during a period of unpaid leave in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld.