Shorter Working Year Scheme

Policy Owner
Human Resources
Document Type
Document Approval Date




The scheme permits staff to balance their working arrangements with outside commitments, including school holiday periods of their children. The Shorter Working Year Scheme, replaces the Term Time Leave Scheme, see Government Circular 14/2009

  • The Shorter Working Year scheme is open to all staff of the university
  • To be eligible to apply the staff member
    • Must have a contract, which extends to at least the end of December in the year of availing of the scheme.
    • must have completed their probationary period before the date of application

Under the terms of the scheme, a staff member may apply, on an annual basis, for unpaid special leave of not less than 2 weeks and not exceeding 13 weeks in total. Staff may request to have their reduced pay spread over a 12-month period from January to December.

Unpaid special leave may be taken as 1 continuous period, or as a maximum of 3 separate periods, subject to agreement with the manager.

Staff with an annual leave allowance in excess of 20 days will have their allowance reduced on a pro rata basis. It is a matter for each School/Unit to decide, whether it is permissible for staff to take annual leave immediately before or after the arrangement commences.

All applications must be submitted to HR no later than 1 October of the year prior to availing of the scheme.

For full details of the Shorter Working Leave Scheme, see Government Circular 14/2009. 

  • Staff wishing to participate in the scheme should, in the first instance, discuss their application with their Line Manager.
  • As part of this discussion the staff member will need to specify the duration required and their preference re continuous leave or specify the duration required i.e. a period of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or 13 weeks consecutive leave. 
  • Following discussion and agreement the staff member should complete the Shorter Working Leave application form and submit this to their Head of School/Unit. All completed and approved applications must be approved by the Head of School/Unit and submitted to HR by the deadline of 01 October. 
  • This application should then be forwarded to the HR Operations Manager for consideration together with a statement of approval from the Head of School/Unit.
  • The decision on the application will be based upon the resourcing and business needs of the unit which will have been discussed between the Line Manager and the HR Business Partner.
  • A School/Unit shall reserve the right to refuse some or all of the applications to participate in the scheme. 
  • The decision will be conveyed to the staff member by Director of Human Resources in writing. 
  • It will not be possible for a staff member to withdraw or to alter an application under the scheme once the offer of a shorting working year has been accepted by the staff member. This commitment is essential to allow time for putting in place the special salary arrangements and, where appropriate, the appointment of a replacement.
  • An offer of participation must be accepted within ten working days of the offer being made to a staff member. Failure to do so may result in the withdrawal of the offer.
  • Staff wishing to avail of Shorter Working Year Scheme for more than one year must apply each year to participate in the scheme up to a maximum of 3 separate periods. Previous acceptance on the scheme does not guarantee the success of future applications.
  • It is a matter for each School/Unit to decide, where numbers are limited, to give priority to staff who did not previously avail of Shorter Working Year Scheme.

A completed fully approved application for the Shorter Working Year Scheme should be submitted to the Human Resources Department by 01 October in the year prior to availing of the scheme.

The Shorter Working Year Scheme Policy will be reviewed annually.