Leave types

All of the links in the blog are for staff. If you are a student, please see the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook

Quick links: Leave options, parents and careers

Please note that all of the information below is just a guide. You will need to review the current policies and identify the correct policy rules.

What types of leave are there?

1. Sick leave:

a) Sick leave: If you are absent for more than 7 consecutive days you will need a doctor’s certificate. This should be the hard copy version but you can send a scanned copy or a photo initially and this should be emailed to your line manager or supervisor. However you must follow up by sending the hard copy to your manager. Your manager will then enter this on trent. See Sickness Absence Recording

b) Long term sick leave: If you are off for more than 28 days. You will need to provide a medical certificate (e.g. from your GP or from the hospital as appropriate) to cover any continuous period of sickness absence of more than 28 consecutive days.

The maximum amount of sick leave you’re entitled to depends on your length of employment (1-6 months). See the table here for more info.

2. Compassionate or emergency leave (staff only not PhD students):

a) In the event of death or serious illness of a close relative you are entitled to basic provision of 2 days paid leave although consideration may be given to certain circumstances where there is responsibility for making arrangements or significant travel is involved. After this you can consider taking annual leave or other leave types.

b) Emergency leave is 1-2 days unpaid leave to manage unexpected issues which occur without warning.

Continue reading here for more information.

3. Maternity leave

The total length of leave you can apply for is 52 weeks:

  • 26 weeks university maternity pay,
  • 13 weeks statutory maternity pay/maternity allowance (as eligible – see guidance online), and
  • 13 weeks unpaid.

Keep in mind that any bank holidays/closure days that fall within the period of maternity leave are not paid but given back as discretionary annual leave days after maternity leave ends. They should be taken before the return to work. You continue to accrue annual leave during this time.


  • You must be employed at the uni until 29 weeks into the pregnancy.
  • You can start maternity leave at any time after 29 weeks.
  • You need to advise your employer (HoD/Line manager/HR) by the 15th week before your baby is due (eg approx. 25 weeks’ pregnant).
  • There is a return to work period of 3 months (see below).

If I do not return to work do I have to pay back part of the maternity leave? This is a tricky question for fixed term contract employees such as post-docs. Prior to maternity leave, your return to work should be discuss with your line manager and Research Finance to discuss if the funding your position depend on could be paused or extended. If the fixed term contract ends during the period of maternity leave then you would not be required to repay the University maternity pay.

4. Paternity and partner support leave

The total length of leave you can apply for is 6 weeks:

  • leave needs to be booked in 1 week blocks
  • can only be taken after the birth
  • need to notify HR 28 days prior to the start of your leave
5. Parental and carers leave

This is unpaid leave to allow you to take care of dependent children or relatives. More information can be found here.

If you would like further information please contact HR on: hradvisors@exeter.ac.uk