Additional Leave

  1. General Information
  2. Number of days leave
  3. Paying for the leave
  4. Pension position
  5. Effect on state benefits
  6. Guidance to managers
  7. How to access additional leave

1. General information

Additional annual leave supports the University's Flexible Working guiding principles, and allows staff to spread the cost of extra leave over a period of time.

Additional annual leave operates similarly to a salary sacrifice arrangement. Staff agree to reduce their salary, and the University will provide up to 10 days additional leave each year, subject to agreement with their managers that the work requirements of the area can be met.

Once agreed, the additional leave is treated as a temporary addition to existing leave entitlement, and is subject to the same arrangements as normal annual leave.

All staff are eligible to request this leave, regardless of their grade or length of service.

2. Number of days leave

Staff have the opportunity to make their requests twice a year, either:

  • by 30 September, for up to 10 days leave, in the next leave year OR
  • by 31 March, for up to 5 days leave, in the remainder of the leave year

For staff who work part time or who are contracted to work more than a standard week, the maximum number of days of additional leave is pro-rated to the equivalent of two working weeks.

The leave can be taken at any time during the year (or half year) and does not have to be taken together as a single block. The additional leave part of your leave entitlement is taken first.

3. Paying for the leave

The additional leave is paid for through a reduction in salary equivalent to the salary for the number of days leave being taken; each day being considered to be about 1/260th of a year. If the full 10 days are taken, this is approximately 4% of gross annual salary. The total salary is reduced until the end of the leave period by the proportion for the number of days being taken, and the monthly salary is then adjusted accordingly to spread the cost of the additional leave agreed in September over the year from October (or the cost of the additional leave agreed in March over the half year from April). By reducing your salary, the amount of tax and National Insurance you pay will also reduce. At the end of the leave period, salary is no longer reduced by this amount.

Members of both USS and the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme will have to pay the employer's pension contribution for the full 10 days. This will be deducted from your salary automatically.

4. Pension position

Taking additional leave may affect the member of staff's pension position; the positions for the different schemes are given below:

USS and University of Sheffield Pension Scheme

Notional salary is used for pension purposes so that pensionable service is not reduced and employee superannuation payments remain as if additional leave is not being taken. In order to maintain a full pension record, staff also have to pay the employer's contribution.

NHS

Additional leave is not pensionable, so that pensionable service is lost for the period of additional leave and pension contributions are reduced in line with the reduction in salary. AVCs can be used to top up pension contributions. This position may change following the completion of the NHS pension scheme review.

Any enquiries should be raised with the Pensions Office.

5. Effect on state benefits

As taking additional leave involves reducing salaries, staff should be aware that if their salary falls below the Lower Earnings Limit, their entitlement to state benefits (such as state pension, statutory maternity pay, etc.) will be affected. Staff should consider this before deciding to take additional leave. Any queries should be raised with the Payroll Office.

As the State Second Pension is linked to NI contributions, there may be an impact on their pension, although it is anticipated that this will be minimal.

Staff who are concerned about the effect of the taking additional leave on their state pension should contact the Pensions Office on x21585.

6. Guidance to managers

Managers should consider requests for additional leave fairly and consistently. Managers should consider the requirements and key objectives of the role held by the staff member, and whether the additional leave may impact on the ability to deliver those requirements and objectives. The specific arrangements will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis. It may be appropriate to consider adjustments to timescales or workload where specific pre-determined objectives are deemed to be unachievable as a result of additional leave being taken. Managers would then need to consider whether such a delay or adjustment is practical for the department. If, after due consideration, a request has to be turned down, the reasons for doing so should be given to the member of staff.

7. How to access additional leave

Staff wishing to buy additional leave should make their original request to their line manager in September or March so that the impact on the work in their area can be assessed in time for a submission to be made. If approval is given by the line manager, the Additional Annual Leave form should be completed in the department and returned to the department's HR Team in Human Resources.

The leave entitlement will be recorded, the Pay and Expenses Office informed and the form filed on the member of staff's personal file.