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Additional day of leave and funding for Christmas social events

21 Oct 2021

A message from Banji Adewumi, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Adèle MacKinlay, Director of People and Organisational Development


The nights drawing in and the weather turning colder are stark reminders that we’re getting closer to the end of another year.  Whilst 2021 may not have been quite so dramatic as 2020, it has still presented us all with a fair amount of challenges. 

Following on from our first message about your wellbeing being a priority we wanted to let you know about a couple of decisions which will hopefully demonstrate how much all of your hard work is appreciated, particularly in making the start of our new academic year run as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.

As a way to say thank you, we’re pleased to let you know that everyone will have an additional day of leave over the festive period.  Our Christmas and New Year closure period will begin on Thursday, 23 December, so our last working day will be Wednesday, 22 December.  We will return on Tuesday, 4 January 2022.  You can find full details of the Christmas and New Year closure period on StaffNet.  The annual leave calculator will be updated shortly to incorporate this additional day of leave.

We recognise that some of our colleagues continue to work on a rota or shift basis over Christmas and New Year, looking after those students who choose to stay with us and ensuring that essential facilities on campus are maintained.  We are so grateful that our campus and students are in your safe hands. If you’re one of these colleagues please be assured that you will still receive an extra day of leave even if you can’t take it on 23 December 2021 – please speak with your line manager about making arrangements to take your extra day.

Whether you choose to celebrate Christmas or not, this time of year is also a brilliant opportunity to get together with friends and colleagues.  Last year we weren’t able to do this because of COVID lockdown restrictions, however, all being well, we will be able to reconnect socially this year.  To help you do this, we’ve increased the usual £15 per person funding for social events to £20 per person this year.  We hope you’ll take the opportunity to get together and catch up.

For many however, Christmas is a difficult time, especially for those who have lost a loved one or for whom COVID-19 has been particularly challenging.  Please remember that our University offers a wide range of wellbeing services and events and you can find out more on our wellbeing pages. If you're struggling, please do reach out.

Finally, one thing we have both noticed during our short time at the University is that lots of us attend a huge amount of meetings.  We hope that in the discussions you’re having in your teams about Patrick Hackett’s Viewpoint about what we can stop doing, that reducing the number of meetings is on your agenda. In the meantime, don’t forget there is another ‘meetings light’ week starting on Monday, 25 October 2021 where we ask colleagues to keep meetings to an absolute minimum.  We have heard feedback from some staff with caring responsibilities who are asking why meeting light weeks always seem to fall in school holidays as they don’t get the full benefit since they often have to take leave at these times.  We’re listening to what you’re saying and will be discussing with SLT shifting the dates of meeting light weeks in 2022 so that they don’t fall in school holidays.  We will keep you updated.

Oyebanji (Banji) Adewumi, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Adèle MacKinlay, Director of People and Organisational Development