Leave and Absence

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The University gives its employees generous annual leave to support health and wellbeing and to ensure that employees have sufficient leave entitlement both to take restorative breaks away from the workplace and to deal with other personal issues during the working week.  Time away from the workplace is essential for wellbeing and work-life balance.

The number of days' paid holiday to which you are entitled in each leave year is specified in your contract of employment. For support and academic-related staff, further information is set out in section 3.8 of the staff handbooks. 

All entitlements are pro-rata for part-time staff.

For staff with less than a year's service, or whose circumstances change during the year (for example, due to a change of hours, or leaving employment) the amount of annual holiday allowed will normally be pro-rated based on the relevant period.

Holiday accrual begins from the first day of employment.

The normal leave year runs from 1 October to 30 September.

Annual leave entitlement is based on the following:

8 Public Holidays

Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, two May Bank Holidays, August Bank Holiday;

6 days fixed closure

5 to be taken during the Christmas closure period, and 1 at Easter, excluding public holidays (or otherwise by arrangement with your line manager/supervisor).

Personal leave days

The number is specified in the contract of employment and to be taken by arrangement with your line manager/supervisor

Records of annual leave

The Department uses Teamseer to record annual leave. It is your responsibility to keep accurate records of your annual leave.

Teamseer is an online system used by the department to request, book, track and approve annual leave. You can view both your own calendar and see when other members of your team will be on leave.

When you join the department as a new starter, you will be sent an email to set up your account, which you will be able to log into using your Single Sign On (SSO) username.

While there are some changes you can make yourself on TeamSeer, other changes needed to be made by the administrator, such as if you would like to change which days you work. Please contact the HR Team for any changes that you cannot make yourself.

Should you have any issues with the system, please have a look at this video, alternatively contact the HR Team.

If you are on a Skilled Worker or Tier 5 visa and are therefore required to record absences from work, please go to the Skilled Worker or Tier 5 session for more information about your obligations.

Holiday carryover

Up to 5 days of any balance of the annual entitlement (pro-rata for part-time staff) may be carried forward from one year to the next only in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of your supervisor and the HR Manager.

Long service leave scheme

The long service leave scheme awards additional holiday to staff with more than 5 years’ continuous service with Chancellors, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford or another HEI (evidence required).

The extra day(s) leave will be added to your holiday quota at the start of the first new holiday year after reaching the respective years’ service threshold.

Long service leave thresholds and entitlements and more information on the scheme can be found here.

If you think you should be entitled to additional long service leave, please speak with the HR Team.

Additional annual leave

The Department offers an Additional Annual Leave scheme, through which staff can request up to 10 additional days’ annual leave in each holiday year.  Where approved, this additional leave is then added to the annual leave entitlement for the year and used in the same way as standard annual leave.  

The cost of the additional days’ leave can either be met by a salary reduction at the time that the leave is taken, or through an arrangement whereby the leave can be exchanged against salary over a period of up to 12 months (salary sacrifice), in order to reduce the impact of the  salary reduction.

In order to apply to the scheme, you will need to have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service and not be employed on a variable hours or term time only contract. We will also need to check that the effect of the salary sacrifice (combined with any other scheme) will not result in your hourly rate falling below the National Minimum Wage threshold.

You should complete a Request for Additional Leave application form and give it to the person who normally approves their holiday requests.  The form specifies the amount of leave requested and the agreed period of salary reduction. By signing the form the employee indicates their acceptance of the change in their terms and conditions of employment.

More information: Additional annual leave

Guidelines for leave for academic staff

More information and guidance on applications for leave for academic staff, including sabbatical leave can be found here.


If you are unable to attend work due to ill health it is your responsibility to notify the department as soon as possible. You should contact your line-manager or supervisor, ideally at the start of the first working day on which you will be absent. You should speak directly to your manager if possible, and give a reason and an indication of when you expect to return.

If you are not able to return on the day you anticipated, you should contact your line-manager again to update them. Failure to provide such notification without good reason will result in sick pay (including payment under the University's scheme) being withheld.

Sickness absence must also be recorded in TeamSeer either by yourself or your line manager or supervisor. Please ensure that the return to work form which is automatically emailed to you is completed when you return, checking that the dates are correct. The dates cannot be amended once you have submitted the form.

For absences up to seven calendar days, this online form will act as a self-certificate. Sickness absence over seven calendar days (including weekends) must be accompanied by a valid medical certificate (from the GP or hospital). These should be sent to the HR Team as soon as possible. This “Fit Note” is required for University sick pay and SSP purposes. False declarations on these forms could lead to further action or withholding of sick pay.

Frequent or long-term sickness

In the case of frequent or long-term absence, your line-manager may wish to discuss this with you on your return to work. In some cases, it may be necessary to make a referral to Occupational Health for further advice.  More information on the services offered by Occupational Health is available from the HR Team. 

Sickness whilst on annual leave

If you are taken ill whilst on annual leave, your leave allowance can be credited and taken at a later date provided that (a) the normal reporting procedures have been followed and (b) a Sickness Absence Record form, and doctor’s certificate if appropriate, has been provided.

Guidance for Managers

Managers are encouraged to discuss absence with employees who have had three or more separate periods of absence within the last six months, have been absent for more than two weeks, or if the manager has any other concerns related to the absence. Guidance on these conversations can be sought from the HR Manager. For longer absences, the manager should maintain appropriate contact with the absent employee and keep the HR Manager informed so that sick pay entitlement can be handled. Please also notify your HR contact if a referral to Occupational Health is required.

Time off for dependants

Time off for medical appointments

If it is necessary for you to arrange to visit, during the normal working day, to your doctor, dentist or a hospital to receive treatment, or for medical screening (eg, tests for cancer), attempts should be made to arrange the visit in such a way as to disrupt the work of your department as little as possible. Permission to attend will not be unreasonably withheld.

This type of absence should be recorded on Teamseer.

Compassionate / bereavement leave

  • For staff who have suffered bereavement: general provisions are outlined in Section 4 of the staff handbooks. 
  • Parents who lose a child under the age of 18 have a specific statutory entitlement to two weeks parental bereavement leave. 

Leave for public Service

See the Handbook section 4 for full details of leave for the following

  • Election to Westminster 
  • Jury Service
  • Voluntary Public Service
  • Reserve Forces

Unauthorised leave

The Department has a duty of care to all its members of staff, and also an obligation to report unauthorised absence of sponsored migrants to the Home Office. When a member of staff is absent from work without making prior arrangements in line with the University’s leave procedures or appropriately notifying their department that they are sick or that they have a family emergency, such leave may be deemed unauthorised.

Please speak with the HR Manager for further advice.