The employee should complete a ‘Request for additional leave’ application form (available from their local HR contact) and give it to the person who normally approves their holiday requests. The form specifies the amount of leave requested and the agreed period of salary reduction. By signing the form the employee indicates their acceptance of the change in their terms and conditions of employment.
When can applications be made?
Normally it is expected that requests will be made before the start of the annual leave year. However, with departmental agreement, requests for additional annual leave can be made at any point during the year, as need arises.
(See above ‘How does the salary sacrifice work’ for information about how requesting leave during the course of the leave year will affect the salary exchange arrangements).
Only one request per year will be allowed: if less than the maximum number of days/hours is requested, it will not be possible to make a further request until the following year. In the event that additional leave is needed, this can be requested as unpaid leave on an ad hoc basis, and deductions made from salary in the normal way for unpaid leave.
Can additional days’ leave be requested for the current year only, or on a permanent basis?
Due to the way that the salary sacrifice calculations are made requests can only be made for the current holiday year, but repeated requests can be made for subsequent holiday years, subject to operational considerations.
Where an employee would like to request additional annual leave on an ongoing, rather than one-off basis, consideration should be given to whether a permanent FTE reduction would be a more appropriate way of accommodating the arrangement. A small FTE reduction might, for example, allow a member of staff to accrue an hour’s leave entitlement per week, to be taken through a time-in-lieu equivalent arrangement. For example, reducing an academic-related post from full-time hours (notionally 37.5 hours per week) to 96% FTE would give a reduction in 1.5 working hours per week. This could be taken as a weekly reduction in working hours or, by agreement, the hours could be accrued and taken in blocks.
Where the scheme is offered (assuming that staff meet the eligibility criteria above) it is at the discretion of departments whether to agree to a request in full or only in part (for example, agreeing to 5 days rather than 10), or to refuse it altogether on operational or other grounds.
Line managers are expected to give very careful consideration to all applications, but it will not always be operationally possible to agree additional leave, and it must be stressed that the scheme is entirely discretionary. If the line manager is unable to approve the request then the reasons for this should be discussed with the employee, but no specific appeal mechanism applies.
Where multiple applications are received within a team, and it is not possible to grant them all in full, line managers should consider the most objective and fair way of accommodating requests. This may mean partial approval of all requests, rather than agreeing to some in full while others are turned down.
Managers are not expected to make comparative value judgements about the reasons for application in considering whether to approve requests. However, managers should be mindful of the circumstances which led the individual to request the additional leave. Whilst staff may request additional leave for any reason, some staff will be requesting the leave in order to help them to manage complex family or caring responsibilities. In the latter circumstances, in the event that a request for additional annual leave cannot be accommodated the complex circumstances will remain and it will be helpful to discuss what other flexibility might be offered.
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