Career Break Scheme FAQs

Application

The purpose and reason for the career break is one of the factors that will be taken into account when an application for a career break is considered. We can only make a decision based on the information you give us.

Any applications which do not include details of the reason/purpose of the career break will not therefore be approved.

If the reason for your request is of a sensitive personal nature then you are advised to speak to the HR Business partner for your area in confidence to discuss the process and confidentiality. If you give a reason for your application which is false or intentionally misleading, disciplinary action may be taken.

Eligibility

No, the 3 years must have been on a contract of employment with the University of Exeter. Casual work or assignments with the TSB do not count towards the 3 years’ qualifying service.

Fixed term contracts

No, you must have an ongoing contract with the University. If you are on a fixed term contract and apply for a career break that goes beyond the end date of your contract, your application will not be approved.

Whilst on leave

You will not be entitled to University (occupational) sick pay.

You may be entitled to statutory sick pay, subject to you meeting the qualifying conditions (see the government web pages https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/overview).

A career break is likely to affect eligibility and/or the amount of statutory sick pay to which you are entitled, and it may depend on how long your career break is for and when in the career break you are sick.

If you are on an extended period of sickness, you are recommended to contact HR Services at the earliest opportunity.

If you choose to resign during a career break, you should submit your resignation in writing to your manager in accordance with your contractual notice period. Any part of the notice period that falls within the career break period will be unpaid. If you submit your resignation at the end of the career break you will normally be required to work your notice. Notice can be waived by mutual agreement however you would not be entitled to receive any payment in lieu of your notice period in circumstances where notice is waived.

Please note if you have had a period of family friendly leave before the career break, you may be required to repay your University maternity/adoption/paternity/shared parental pay if you resign during the career break or within three months of returning to work. Please see the family friendly section and the current guidance on the parents and carers web pages for more details.

Annual leave

Before the career break

You are required to take any annual leave you have accrued up to the date you commence your career break (including any days carried forward from the previous holiday year) e.g. if you wish to commence your career break on 1 February, you should have taken 1/12th of your leave entitlement plus any days carried forward. You must discuss your leave arrangements with your line manager and clarify and record the agreement made with them.

During a career break

You are not entitled to contractual annual leave or paid University closure days during a career break. Since the University is treating the career break as a period of unpaid leave, you will continue to accrue statutory annual leave at 28 days per year inclusive of bank holidays. Statutory annual leave must be taken during the career break and will not be paid, nor will you be entitled to any payment in lieu of this statutory holiday either on return to work or if you resign during or at the end of the career break. 

Since the University is treating the career break as a period of unpaid leave, you will continue to accrue continuous service during a career break for the purposes of statutory employment rights.

However, the period of the career break will not count towards any service-related benefits e.g. occupational sick pay and University maternity provisions. For these purposes service before the career break will be aggregated with service after the career break.

You should also be aware that the period of the career break will not count towards pensionable service, and your membership of the relevant pension scheme will be suspended during this period.  You are advised to speak to the HR pensions team to discuss how a career break will impact on your entitlements under your pension scheme. 

There is an expectation that no work (paid or unpaid) will be undertaken during the career break. However, if an employee wishes to take up any paid work during their career break they must obtain written consent from the PVC/Director of Service before commencing any work. You can include this request in your application.

There is an expectation that no work (paid or unpaid) will be undertaken during the career break. If an employee wishes to take up any paid or unpaid work during their career break they must obtain written consent from the PVC/Director of Service before commencing any work. You can include this request in your application, such requests will not be unreasonably refused.

Family Friendly Questions

Please contact HR Services at the earliest opportunity to discuss your situation.

Your statutory right to maternity leave and possibly statutory and or University maternity pay (see below) continues to apply. 

You may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Univerity Maternity Pay (UMP) subject to you meeting the qualifying conditions (see the government web pages https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/overview) and the University web pages http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/employment/parents/maternity/pay/

If you do become pregnant during a career break and wish to claim SMP or UMP then you must follow the usual notification requirements

http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/employment/parents/pregnancy/

Since the University is treating the career break as a period of unpaid leave, your statutory right to take shared parental leave and Statutory and University Shared Parental Pay will continue if you and your partner meet the eligibility requirements – for more information on the statutory see https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/eligibility  and the University scheme here http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/employment/parents/sharedleave/eligibility/

Any family friendly leave or long term sickness absence will be included for purposes of the 5 years continuous service requirement between the first and any subsequent requests. 

Any agreed work carried out on any KIT day will count as one full day.

You can apply for a career break while you are on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave.

You will need to agree a start date for the career break at the end of your family friendly leave or you must curtail your family friendly leave in accordance with the appropriate notification requirements.

If you have received University maternity/adoption/shared parental pay, the University may reclaim from you all or part of the non-statutory element if you fail to return to work for at least 3 months following your career break (or an equivalent period of time if you reduce your hours). This excludes any non-working periods (eg KIT days, parental leave, vacation time for term time only workers).

Please see the University policy on overpayments for details on how the money would be repaid by you to the University.

Benefits

Since you will not be paid a salary during your career break, you will not be eligible to participate in these schemes.

Childcare voucher scheme

If you withdraw from the childcare voucher scheme, you should note the changes being introduced by the government which may prevent you from re-joining the scheme after your career break ends: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/employment/parents/childcarevouchers/ .Please contact payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk for more information.

Car Parking

The government is withdrawing salary sacrifice for car parking. If you joined the scheme before April 2017 you can remain in it until March 2018 provided there are no changes. Taking a career break will mean that you cannot re-join salary sacrifice for car parking if your career break ends before April 2018.

Car Scheme

You are taking a career break and would no longer be paid a salary and so you will have to terminate early which would incur a fine. Please contact payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk for more information about the fine before you apply.

Cycle to Work Scheme

during approved unpaid leae such as a career break the hire agreement islikely to be suspended until you return to work and full pay resumes. Please contact payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk for more information.

Yes you will still be able to use the facilities, but you will not be able to pay for them through the payroll system and so must arrange your own payment methods with the relevant facility.