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Balancing Work and Family

Useful links to information and help for balancing work and family:

General University help

Parenting and work / study


The University has two workplace nurseries. Some of the Colleges also make provision for the children of staff and students.

Family-related leave

The University has well developed and generous packages available to staff starting a family, including those adopting.

Maternity leave may constitute: 18 weeks' paid leave during which the member of staff will receive their normal rate of pay; 21 weeks' during which they will receive Statutory Maternity Pay (if entitled); 13 weeks unpaid leave.

Paternity leave is also available: two weeks at full pay. Parental leave is also available of up to 13 weeks (unpaid) for each child, subject to a qualifying period.

All employees have a statutory right to short periods of unpaid leave in order to make arrangements to deal with family emergencies. In addition to this statutory provision Heads of Department have discretion to grant compassionate leave where circumstances justify so doing. The Department tries to be as supportive as possible when family crises arise. There are established procedures for applying for compassionate leave or temporary changes in working arrangements.

Alternative working patterns

Normal working hours are specified in your contract. Assistant staff have a window - usually between 08:00 and 18:00) during which working hours can be arranged subject to agreement. Some roles do, however, require more specific hours. Research and academic staff have greater flexibility to arrange their hours. In the Department of Genetics staff meetings and seminars have been moved to earlier in the day to make it easier for those with childcare responsibilities to attend.

Staff returning from maternity leave have the right to ask to work flexibly either as part of a phased return to work, or more permanently. The Department tries to be very accommodating in its response. Teaching staff are relieved of their teaching duties for a year, top allow them to get their research programme underway again.

Sickness and stress

Government/official information