Information for parents

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The University of Oxford’s policy on maternity and adoption leave and pay is one of the most generous in UK higher education. Eligible parents are entitled to up to 26 weeks leave at the rate of full pay, followed by up to 13 weeks at the rate of statutory pay and 13 weeks unpaid leave.

Find out more about the University’s Family Leave scheme

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Shared Parental leave allows a couple to share the leave and pay available through the maternity and adoption leave schemes (aside from two weeks compulsory leave which must be taken by mothers/primary adopters). Up to 50 weeks leave and up to 37 weeks statutory pay, and for University employees up to 24 weeks’ pay at the rate of full pay, are available to be shared if the mother or primary adopter chooses to convert their entitlement into Shared Parental Leave. Shared Parental Leave can be taken in single or multiple and discontinuous blocks giving parents flexibility to arrange care for their new arrival in a way that best fits them. 

Guidance on the University's Shared Parental leave scheme 

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Fathers, or partners of new mothers or primary adopters, can take up to two weeks leave at the rate of full pay, within the first 56 days after the birth or placement of the child. Although referred to as 'Paternity' leave, the leave is available to partners of any gender as long as they have the main responsibility (apart from the birth mother/adopter) for bringing up the child, and intend to take the time off to look after the child.

Find out more about the University's Paternity Leave scheme 

Take a look at the My Family Care resources 

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The University recognises the emotional and physical challenges which may arise from undergoing fertility treatment, and seeks to support staff who are going through this. The University’s Fertility Treatment Leave framework is intended to assist eligible staff members in the logistical and emotional aspects of undergoing treatment.

Find out more about Fertility Treatment Leave 

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As a parent, you have a right to take unpaid time off work to look after a child under the age of 18 or to make arrangements for the child's welfare, for example, to:

  • accompany a child during a stay in hospital
  • check out new schools
  • settle a child into new childcare arrangements
  • enable family to spend more time together. For example, taking a child to stay with grandparents

For information about eligibility and notification requirements see: Guidance on unpaid parental leave 

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The University recognises that you may need to take occasional leave from work to fulfil caring responsibilities for dependants who are sick, or to deal with domestic emergencies.

There is a statutory entitlement to unpaid time off to care for dependants

In some circumstances paid leave (from half to two days, to a maximum of 5 days per annum) may be available: find out more about time off to care for dependants 

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The University supports and encourages the use of flexible working practices, in order to enable employees to care for dependants or to strike a better balance between their work and family life. A flexible working arrangement can be any working pattern other than the normal working pattern in your department and may be a formal or informally agreed arrangement, and may be a temporary or permanent change to your contractual terms. 

Examples include part-time working, requesting additional annual leave, compressed hours, or homeworking. Any member of staff who would like to consider flexible working arrangements should discuss the matter with their departmental administrator or equivalent, in the first instance.

Find out more about Flexible working 

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The University is proud to be able to offer a comprehensive range of high quality childcare at affordable prices. It works closely with various professional bodies to continue to develop and enhance its provision.

For further information about nurseries please visit the University of Oxford Childcare Services.

If you would like to talk to someone about other childcare options, including nanny share, contact My Family Care

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The purpose of the Framework is to minimise the impact of an extended period of family leave on a research project and wider team, and to ensure that the University is able to deliver on its research and teaching commitments.

If you are a researcher or have management responsibility for research staff, please refer to the Framework for the management of family leave for research and academic staff. 

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University employees are eligible for free access to the Work+Family Space, an external, national provider of information and support for those with caring, and other family responsibilities. By registering with Work+Family Space you can access a "speak to an expert" phone service to answer questions you have about any aspect of caring, such as sourcing care for an elderly dependent, setting in place a power of attorney, or finding emergency back-up care for a dependant of any age. 

Via the Work+Family Space website you can also access downloadable 'insider' guides and webinars.

Webinar library includes: Insider guides include: 

Caring from a distance

Resilience for carers

Caring & your career

Making decisions about care

Convalescence, rehabilitation and respite care

Power of attorney

Assistive devices


Find out more: Work+Family Space

The Returning Carers' Fund is a small grants scheme to support the return to research of women and men who have taken a break of at least six months for caring responsibilities.

For further details and deadlines see the Equality and Diversity website.

The Teams Channel, Working Parents at Oxford University provides a peer-to-peer forum for parents to ask questions and seek support. 

In the very sad event that an employee loses a child under the age of 18, including in the case of stillbirth after 24 complete weeks of pregnancy, the University's Parental Bereavement leave scheme offers two weeks leave at their normal full rate of pay.

The loss of a baby through miscarriage or still birth is a very difficult time and can have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of both parents.  Guidance for managers to help provide appropriate practical and emotional support for an employee affected by pregnancy loss can be found on the HR webpages.