Human Resources

Managing leave and absence

Annual leave

The annual leave year for all staff runs from 1 October to 30 September in any year and you should ensure your staff take their entitlement within this time-frame.

Leave entitlement

Academic and Research staff receive an annual leave entitlement of 35 days per year. These staff include: Deans, Heads, Professors, Readers, Researchers, University Tutors and Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Support staff receive an annual leave entitlement of 32 days per year.

Part-time staff have a pro-rata entitlement to leave based on the number of hours/weeks they work (their fte). Temporary staff on variable hours contracts have an entitlement to 32 days per annum pro rata and this will be calculated in proportion to the number of hours worked by the following formula: Annual leave  entitlement (in hours) = total number of hours worked x 0.1403.

Booking leave

All annual leave must be sumbitted for your authorisation in advance, via ESS. Information on how to authorise annual leave is available on our HR Systems page. If you are going to be absent for an extended period, you should set up a redirect for a colleague to authorise leave requests in your absence. Information about this is also available on our HR Systems page.

Carrying over leave

It may be difficult for some staff to take their full entitlement by 30 September in any given year so provision is made for a maximum of 5 days leave outstanding at 30 September to be carried forward and taken at any time during the next leave year.

There may be some unusual and exceptional circumstances (eg long term sickness absence) which prevent a member of staff from taking their full leave entitlement, even taking into account the fact that they are able to carry forward a maximum of 5 days outstanding leave into the next leave year. The appropriate HR Business Partner must be notified in writing by the Head of Department/Service. Express authorisation must be given for an individual to carry forward additional leave. This notification is essential in order that the leave records on the HR System can be adjusted.

Joining or leaving the University - leave entitlement

Holiday entitlement for part-years on starting (and leaving) is calculated on complete calendar months of service.

If a member of your team is leaving employment at the University, any outstanding leave entitlement to date of leaving should be taken. If this is not possible, their outstanding leave entitlement will be paid with the final salary. Leave already taken that is in excess of their entitlement will be deducted from the final salary.

Bank Holiday entitlement

All staff benefit from a proportional entitlement to Bank Holiday and Christmas closure days off, which is in addition to the annual leave entitlement and will show as a separate entitlement on your ESS absence record.

The entitlement period runs from 1 October to 30 September each year.

Click for more information for your Academic or Research members of staff.

Click for more information for your Support members of staff.

Half-day working start/finish times

If a member of staff wishes to take a half-day (i.e a morning or afternoon) as leave, the following gives the start and finish times for each. Please note this is based on a standard hours working week, e.g. 8.30 am to 5.15 pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30 am to 4.15 pm on a Friday:

Working half day (am)

Monday to Thursday:  8.30 am - 12.15 pm

Friday:                         8.30 -11.45 am

Working half day (pm)

Monday to Thursday:  1.30 - 5.15 pm

Friday:                         1.00 - 4.15 pm

Christmas closure dates

The University is closed over the Christmas period. Staff are not expected to take annual leave to cover this time: working days within the period are allocated as a combination of statutory and customary holidays. University Christmas Closure dates 2013-2022 *

Managing sickness absence

Our Managing Sickness Absence page sets out the process both employees and their managers are required to follow in the event of absence from work due to sickness and the procedure when ill health/disability prevents effective performance of an employee’s duties. You can also download the Managing Sickness Absence Procedure.

The University’s Occupational Health Service provides advice to individuals and managers on work related health problems and health problems that can affect work. 

You can refer a member of your staff to Occupational Health (OH) for advice if their health is affecting their fitness to carry out their role, or the role is adversely affecting their health. For staff who have been referred, you can advise them to visit our Referral to Occupational Health webpage for further information. There is also a Staff Guide to Occupational Health Referral and Advice available to download, which also provides information and advice.

Additional information is available on our Ensuring Team Health, Safety and Wellbeing section.

Entitlement to Sick Pay for Variable Hours Staff

If you have any staff on a Variable Hours Contract, they are entitled to claim Occupational Sick Pay in line with their contract of employment. Full details are available at our page Entitlement to Sick pay for Variable Hours Staff.

Family friendly entitlements

The University provides a wide range of Family Friendly entitlements * including information & guidance regarding Adoption/Maternity/Paternity Leave & Pay, Parental Leave, the Right to Request Flexible Working and Time-off for Dependants.

Compassionate leave

Line managers are authorised to grant up to five days' leave on compassionate grounds. Requests for leave of more than five days should be made to the Director of Human Resources, who is authorised to grant up to 10 days leave in any one year. In exceptional circumstances, leave in excess of 10 days may be granted. Line managers must notify HR of any compassionate leave taken by their staff by emailing details to the HR Service Centre.


Any academic member of staff, on an open-ended contract to undertake research, innovation and teaching, and who has three years’ continuous service with the University of Portsmouth at the time of commencing the sabbatical, is normally eligible to apply for a sabbatical. Periods of maternity, paternity, adoption leave or long-term sickness absence do count towards the three years’ continuous service. Our Sabbatical Leave Policy provides full details.

Other absence and leave

Information & guidance is available regarding other absence and leave including:

  • Jury Service
  • Witness Service
  • Reservist duty
  • Time off for public duties

Adverse weather and travel disruption

The University recognises that adverse weather conditions can prevent employees from reaching their normal place of employment. All employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to attend for work, but without compromising their health and safety. Where employees are unable to attend for work because of adverse weather, they should report this to their manager as early as possible.

If member of staff reports that they are unable to get to work because of adverse weather, and the University is open, then the individual should be offered to take the time as either unpaid, annual leave or flexi-time that they will need to work back at a later date, or where appropriate, work from home on agreed areas of work.

If the University takes the decision to close because of adverse weather, casual and PTHP staff who were scheduled to be in work should be paid for the hours they would have been expected to work whilst the University was closed. Timesheets should be completed in the normal way. Staff taking booked annual leave for all or part of the time when the University was closed will not get these days credited back.

Unauthorised absence

Unauthorised absence is not acceptable and may lead to disciplinary action including dismissal.

 *Internal only