Unpaid Leave/Reduced Working Week Policy

Unpaid Leave/Reduced Working Week Policy


1. Given the current economic environment and having regard to the success of similar schemes, the University is introducing the following policy effective immediately :- i) Unpaid leave of absence: absence from work for one week or more without pay. ii) Reduction in Working Week: reduction in the normal contracted number of hours/days in the working week.

2. The objective of these arrangements is to maximize potential savings to the University in this difficult financial environment while at the same time seeking to accommodate the personal requirements of University employees. This policy will be kept under review and is subject to change and may be withdrawn in line with University requirements.


3. All UCC employees are entitled to apply for unpaid leave of absence or a reduction in their contracted working week.


4. Any UCC employee is entitled to make an application to reduce their normal contracted hours/days of the working week or make an application to avail of a period of unpaid leave.

5. Every application will be considered on its own merits and within the context of the department/unit concerned. A decision will be taken by the appropriate Head of Department/Manager as to whether or not the applicant can be facilitated given the capacity of the department/school/service to maintain required critical strategic objectives and having regard to overall staffing requirements in this context.

6. Pro-rata payment will be made for the reduced working week. In the case of unpaid leave of absence, if the unpaid leave is for a continuous period of four or more weeks, then the salary reduction can be spread evenly over the remaining months in the relevant calendar year. The introduction of these arrangements is independent of the Shorter Working Year scheme which will continue to operate on an annual basis. Vacancies arising from the unpaid leave or reduced working week will not be backfilled in any capacity so as to ensure the intended cost saving is achieved.

7. Where an employee is granted a reduced working week or a period of unpaid leave he/she will retain the right to return to his/her contracted working week at the end of the agreed period. The agreed period will not exceed one year and any extension in the reduction in working week or period of unpaid leave can be reviewed on an annual basis thereafter for as long as the policy remains in operation. An employee who has been granted a reduced working week or period of unpaid leave may at any time apply to return to his/her contracted working week.

8. Where an employee is granted a reduced working week or a period of unpaid leave the Head of College/Executive Manager will be notified.

9. Each Head of Department/Manager reserves the right, in exceptional circumstances, to require an employee availing of these arrangements to resume his/her normal working week temporarily, subject to appropriate notice.

10. Entitlements to salary, annual and sick leave will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to reflect the employee’s agreed reduction in working week or the period of unpaid leave.

11. Pensionable service will be reckoned on the basis of the reduced contracted hours/days having regard to the period of unpaid leave of absence or the reduction in the working week. As the reduction in pensionable service may have an impact on overall pension entitlement on retirement the employee should consult the Pensions Office in this regard prior to availing of the unpaid leave or reduced working week. It may be possible to pay additional contributions in order to purchase notional service.

12. Public holiday entitlement will be in accordance with the Organisation of Working Time Act 1977 and the scheme currently operated in the University for part-time staff.


13. An employee can apply to his/her Head of Department/Manager for a reduction in his/her working week or for a period of unpaid leave by completing the Unpaid Leave/Reduced Working Week application form.

14. The employee may be required to meet with his/her Head of Department/Manager or relevant line manager to discuss the application.

15. If the application is approved the Head of Department/Manager must sign the form and forward same to the Department of Human Resources and Organisational Development.

16. A letter of confirmation will be sent to the employee outlining the new working arrangements and the pro-rata adjustment to his/her terms of employment.

17. In the event that the application cannot be facilitated, the Head of Department/Manager must give the applicant the rationale for that decision.

CONTACT: hrqueries@ucc.ie / 021 490 3603

Human Resources

Acmhainní Daonna

Ground Floor, Block E, Food Science Building, UCC