The University of Manchester offers a number of family-friendly policies and practices which are designed to make your work-life balance just that bit easier. Your People & OD Partner can discuss these in detail with you to discuss eligibility and access the correct policies for you and your personal situation.
Caring for children
For those staff planning to expand their family, we have supportive policies and practices which start before you bring your child/ren home. These cover paid time off for fertility treatment, pre-adoption and ante-natal appointments. These benefits are available to staff who are pregnant, undergoing surrogacy or adoption and partners, subject to eligibility.
The University also offers a generous maternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay and leave package which is unsurpassed in the sector. Qualifying staff can take up to 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave, of which 26 weeks is with full pay, 13 weeks is at statutory maternity pay and 13 weeks is unpaid. The unpaid element can be extended in the event of a premature birth, corresponding to how many weeks prior to the due date baby arrived. Staff on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave continue to accrue annual leave and University closure days and add these to their allowance when they return. Please read the relevant policy and associated guidance to find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
Partners are able to take up to two ante-natal or pre-adoption appointments, with pay. Following the birth or adoption, 2 weeks of Paternity Leave can be taken with full pay for qualifying staff of any gender. Shared Parental Leave, introduced in 2015, offers further flexibility to parents to share the care of their child in the first year. Parents meeting the eligibility criteria can choose how to divide the leave between them and your People & OD Partner can advise you through the process (birth mothers must take the first two weeks, by law).
The University offers two campus nurseries, Dryden Street Nursery and Echoes Day Care Nursery. Although privately-run, these have been designated as ‘Workplace Nurseries’ under HMRC rules, so that it is possible for University staff with children with a place at either nursery to opt into a salary exchange (also known as salary sacrifice) Workplace Nursery Scheme. This means nursery costs are taken from your gross income – before Income Tax and NI contributions – saving you money.
If your children attend day-care, wrap-around care or holiday schemes off-campus, you can instead save money by paying their costs from a tax-free childcare account. This is a government account which pays in £2 for every £8 you pay into the online account, up to £2,000 per child per year. The childcare provider can be paid directly from this account, which can also be used to apply for free childcare hours for 2- 4 year olds, dependent on eligibility. Please visit https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ to find out more.
Sources of support and advice at the university
As much as you try to prepare for parenthood, sometimes we all need some support. The University offers a Peer Support Group, which has recently expanded beyond new parents. We recognise that each stage of childhood brings with it its own challenges and parents/carers of children of any age are welcome to join the group – seasoned parents are also welcome to offer advice! From 2020 the group meet informally in the ‘Milk and Honey’ café, a family-friendly space where children are most definitely welcome – keep an eye on the Parents at UoM Peer Support Group page for updates and dates on meetings.
Staff returning from maternity/adoption or shared parental leave are also encouraged to access the University’s Coaching Service which has provisions developed specifically for staff preparing for, or returning from, leave. More information and details on how to apply can be found at https://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/staff-learning-and-development/academicandresearch/personal-skills-and-development/coaching/
The University has recently created spaces which are suitable for staff wanting to breast-feed or express milk on campus. These ‘Welfare Rooms’ are available around campus and can be found using the Interactive Campus Map. New rooms will be added as they become available and can also be used as rest spaces for expectant mothers.
Additional leave for childcare reasons
Both parents whether they are the natural or adoptive parents, parents under a surrogacy arrangement who have secured legal parental responsibility, or any member of staff who has legal parental responsibility for a child, such as a guardian, can qualify for Ordinary Parental Leave. This is unpaid leave for up to 18 weeks per parent, per child, intended to support parents with their childcare roles. You may find this useful where annual leave alone isn't enough for your childcare needs.
Our inclusive policies are not limited to parents, we also have policies which support other domestic arrangements
Caring for adult dependents
Special Leave for unplanned domestic emergencies
For all employees, not just those with caring responsibilities, we know that life can often throw up the unexpected. Urgent and unplanned situations can arise which need your physical presence or require you to take sudden time away from work. The university’s Special Leave Policy offers leave with pay or unpaid leave in addition to normal holiday entitlement to help you deal with a range of domestic crises.