Sabbatical leave is integral to the support of high quality research and of initiatives in teaching. The University wishes to encourage eligible staff to apply. Whilst the scheme is directed primarily at academic staff, the University recognises the value of a period of leave of absence to the professional development of academic and other comparable staff. Sabbatical leave is not normally applicable where members of staff have indicated their intention to cease employment at Lancaster.
Sabbatical leave is a period of leave which may be granted to a member of staff, subject to certain conditions, for the purpose of undertaking research or other appropriate study related to their academic or professional field. Leave of absence, on the other hand, is for other purposes, such as visits to other institutions, secondment or exchanges.
The purpose of sabbatical leave is to advance the pursuit of scholarship and research in the University, leading to the publication of results, and the development of individual members of staff. Leave may be granted for developmental activities (e.g. training or experiential programmes) which are of benefit to the University.
Members of Academic Staff holding indefinite contracts are entitled to sabbatical leave, after 7 terms of qualifying service for 1 term of sabbatical leave and thereafter for each successive 7 terms, subject to Faculty approval mechanisms. Consent will not be withheld unreasonably but forward planning to ensure appropriate cover is in place is essential. A period of sabbatical leave or other leave of absence does not count towards qualifying service.
"No Pay" leave is regarded as "neutral", i.e. it counts neither as leave as of right nor as part of the 7 terms of qualifying service for such leave.
Staff employed on temporary/fixed-term Academic and all Academic-Related contracts, although they do not have an entitlement, may apply and be considered for leave (paid or unpaid).
Sabbatical leave may be taken in units of 1 or more terms. Departments are required to plan a programme of sabbatical leave and to take advantage of the flexibility offered by leave taken in units of 1 or more terms. The maximum duration is 12 months.
When 1 term's leave is given, it will be recorded as covering one third of the year, either 15th December to 14th April, 15th April to 14th August, or 15th August to 14th December.
Sabbatical leave may be taken on the basis of full pay, no pay or part pay. Sabbatical leave for the purposes of research or other appropriate and relevant study will normally be on full salary with the department and member of staff each maintaining its superannuation contribution. The University will normally cease pension contributions during a period of no-pay leave.
Where full or part salary is requested, the applicant must advise the University of all expected earnings during the period of absence. For staff who undertake paid work during an agreed period of leave exceeding 1 month, the University may make a deduction of all or part of their salary, the amount deducted being determined so that, after meeting special expenses arising in the period of leave including superannuation contributions where relevant, total income will not be less than if the member of staff had continued in normal service at the University.
In the case of small departments and in the case of applicants with a particular teaching specialism not covered by colleagues, the Faculty Dean will consider with the Head of Department an appropriate way of providing essential temporary assistance.
Members of staff must apply for leave well in advance of the proposed commencement of leave, and in line with the Faculty processes for considering such applications. Individual departments are required to draw up leave programmes spanning several years.
Applications must have the approval of the Head of Department and Faculty Dean.
Members of staff are required to submit Form HR/111 together with a statement of the purpose for which leave is to be taken; the statement must include measurable objectives.
In the interest of satisfactory conduct of the work of the University, the Head of Department has the right to regulate the time at which sabbatical leave is taken. The Head of Department will also determine whether the stated purpose of the leave is appropriate. The University may refuse an application on the grounds of (a) timing, (b) purpose, and (c) taking into account the outcomes of the last period of sabbatical leave (see para 10).
There is no need to apply for leave for study purposes away from Lancaster in vacation, if no teaching, administrative or other departmental duties are affected, though a member of staff must confirm with his/her Head of Department that his/her absence will create no problem. (Where a Head of Department will be away, adequate arrangements must be made for departmental responsibilities to be undertaken).
On return to work, members of staff are required to submit a written report (no more than 500 words) via their Head of Department to the faculty office. This should be submitted in line with the approved faculty timelines.
The purpose of the report will be to show how the objectives set (including details of publications and other measured outputs) and agreed in the original leave proposal have been met, with comments on special difficulties or opportunities encountered, together with any major new research directions identified. If an objective the member of staff has set him/herself, e.g. a book manuscript has not been completed because of new source materials coming to light, then a realistic timescale for completion must be given.
The Head of Department will also provide brief comments on the outcome. This information will be used to determine if the objectives have been met.
8.Leave of Absence
The University may grant leave of absence to staff for the purpose of visits to other institutions, secondments or exchanges. Each case will be considered on its merits but the purpose must be in the interests of the University as well as of the member of staff. Such periods of leave are regarded as "neutral". The period will, however, reckon for pension and continuous employment.
During leave of absence, salary is normally suspended. However, there may be situations where leave with pay is granted, for example an academic staff exchange, where each institution maintains payment of salary to its employee. The applicant is required to demonstrate why the University should maintain part or full salary payment during absence. Earnings must be declared in those cases where the university continues to pay any part of salary during leave so that an appropriate deduction may be made (see para 5 above).
Leave of absence without pay counts neither as sabbatical leave nor as part of periods of qualifying service for such leave.
Heads of Departments are authorised to grant leave of absence in term time to members of staff for periods of up to 2 weeks. Applications for longer periods should be made using Form HR/111 (see para 6 above).
9.Heads of Departments/Deans
Heads of Departments, Deans and other senior office holders who are eligible for sabbatical leave, may apply for leave during their period of office, appropriate arrangements to provide cover must be made. The University does, however, encourage such office holders to plan their time such that a period of sabbatical leave may be taken shortly after relinquishing office. Where appropriate, this might include taking leave in advance of entitlement and subject to the normal approval mechanisms.
10.Non-Completion of Plan
There will be instances when the plan which formed the basis for leave is not achieved in full, has been delayed or abandoned in favour of a different field of enquiry. Staff will be required to explain the reasons in the written report on leave. Where the Head of Department and Faculty Dean consider that the use of sabbatical leave has not been satisfactory or effective, there will be a meeting with the member of staff, their Head of Department and Faculty Dean. The purpose of the meeting will be to establish whether and in the light of any special circumstances there has been effective use of sabbatical leave; to agree upon a plan of action which will within a reasonable timescale produce evidence of satisfactory use of time; to determine how eligibility to apply for future leave is affected by the conclusions reached.
Where a member of staff resigns from their employment at Lancaster, their sabattical leave will normally terminate immediately.
Staff may use the Grievance Procedure as a means of raising a complaint about the operation of this procedure.
The terms of this scheme shall be reviewed from time to time by the University, in consultation with the LAUT.
Information and Advice
In order to take full advantage of the development opportunities offered by sabbatical leave, staff are encouraged prior to committing themselves to any plan to discuss their sabbatical leave plans with colleagues, such as the Associate Dean for Research, Head of Department or Faculty Dean.
Those who are contemplating their first period of leave may find significant benefit in advice from experienced staff on matters such as financial and administrative arrangements, the avoidance of problems of isolation, the value of a sabbatical coach or guide. The possibility of entering a learning partnership could be worth exploration. Useful information is given in the book "The Sabbatical Mentor : A Practical Guide to Successful Sabbaticals" (Anker) by Kenneth J Zahorski. A copy is held by the Library. Although written for an American audience, for the most part is has relevance to the U.K. It covers all stages of sabbatical plans, viz :-
- pre-application reflection and planning
- application process
- the leave period
- re-entry and follow-through
last updated December 2011