Compassionate leave

The purpose of Compassionate Leave is to allow staff time away from work in certain circumstances. These circumstances could be the death or serious illness of a close relative or other person whether related or not who plays a significant part in the life of the member of staff.

These guidelines are expected to ensure that compassionate leave is granted in a fair and equitable manner across the University, at the same time recognising that compassionate leave arrangements need to be flexible to meet individual circumstances. For example, some staff may need to travel long distances or the period of time they need to be away from work may not be immediately clear. The University’s approach towards compassionate leave recognises the importance of this flexibility. 

The standard allowance is a period of up to five working days (pro rata for part time employees) paid leave (depending on location and circumstances) within a 12 month rolling period, which commences on the first day leave is taken.  

Consideration may be given to how close the relationship is. A close relative being interpreted as (for example): 

  • Spouse/Partner
  • Mother/Father and Mother-in-law/Father-in-law, Stepmother/Stepfather
  • Brother/Sister and Brother-in-law/Sister-in-law, Step brother/Step Sister
  • Children/Step Children
  • Grandparents or Grandchildren

The examples of close relative are not exhaustive, each request for leave will to be judged on the circumstances of the case. 

In the case of bereavement, factors such as the extent of the individual's involvement in making funeral or other arrangements (e.g. executor) and the need to travel beyond the local region should be taken into account 

When an employee's own health is considered to be adversely affected by bereavement, a short period of sick leave might be more appropriate, where this is the case the managing absence code of practice should be followed.  

In some circumstances, compassionate leave may be extended by some annual leave, unless it is exhausted.  If it is exhausted then, depending on the circumstances, parental leave or unpaid leave may be used with agreement from the Director of HR or designate. Work patterns may also be amended temporarily to assist the individual to meet their responsibilities. 

Records of compassionate leave should be recorded on Trent. If the employee is a Tier 2 visa holder, records should also be passed to the International Employment Officer to comply with UKVI record keeping requirements. 

Other circumstances 

Normally attendance at a funeral of someone who is not a close relative (as defined above) should  be taken as annual leave, however, line managers can agree paid time off subject to business needs and the closeness of the relationship with the deceased. This should be recorded on Trent as compassionate leave. This leave is counted as compassionate leave and included in the normal allowance of compassionate leave (i.e. 5 days within a 12 month rolling period - pro rata for part timers). 

Applying for compassionate leave 

The member of staff must notify their manager as soon as is reasonably practicable as to the reason for their absence and how long they expect to be away. The manager may ask for more information if it is needed. This leave must be agreed with your manager before it is taken. It is expected that this type of leave will be taken in full days. 

The employee must request the leave via Trent self-service as soon as possible or the manager can input the details if appropriate. 

Updated: 29th April 2020