Times Higher Work-Life Balance Survey


How is Your Work-Life Balance?

Good or bad, let your voice be heard. The survey is completely confidential.

Click here to start the survey


A Timely Reminder

1400471963-800px (1)Holidays and Research & Scholarly Activity

Welcome back to all UCU members. It’s the time of the year when you might like to plan ahead for your holidays and research time. Here is a reminder of some of the rights that we have in relation to holidays and time off for research and scholarly activity.


  • The annual leave year begins on 1 September each year.
  • Full time annual leave entitlement is 37 days. In addition there are 8 statutory bank holidays, plus local discretionary holidays when the University is closed in the interests of efficiency.
  • Annual leave accrues on a pro-rata basis during the year at the rate of 3.1 days per completed calendar month for full time employees irrespective of the actual number of hours worked.
  • The timing of your holidays is subject to the agreement of your manager.  Subject to the organisational requirements of the University, you may request that up to 6 weeks of your normal holiday entitlement be taken in one continuous period, and such a request will not be unreasonably refused.
  • Wherever possible, detailed holiday schedules for individual lecturers will be made as soon as reasonably practicable after the beginning of each academic year; in determining holiday schemes, special regard will be given to lecturers with family responsibilities and those who wish to attend conferences or courses that are held in normal holiday periods.
  • Up to 5 days unspent leave may be carried forward by agreement and taken within the first 4 months of the next annual leave year. No payment can be made in lieu of any period of unspent leave except where the employment relationship is terminated.
  • On termination of employment your entitlement to accrued holiday pay shall be calculated on a pro-rata basis up to your final day of service.  Where more days holiday has been taken than your accrued entitlement the University is authorised to make an appropriate deduction from your final salary.  Payment and deductions will be made on the basis of 1/260th of annual salary for each day’s leave.

Research and Scholarly Activity

  • As part of your duties, you will normally be expected to engage in research and scholarly activity.  The nature and extent of this will vary with the nature of the subject(s) you teach and the full range and balance of your duties and other commitments.  In this context, ‘scholarly activities’ includes the production of books, contributions to books, articles and conference papers, and is to be construed in the light of the common understanding of the phrase in higher education.
  • While it is in the nature of research and scholarly activity that it may take place throughout the year and be integrated into the overall pattern of your activities, it is envisaged that normally the period(s) of the year outside normal teaching weeks (clause 4 “Working Year”) and your holiday entitlement (clause 8 “Holidays”) will primarily be devoted to research and scholarly activity. (see your own contract, but this period amounts to 148 hours or 4 weeks, and there is an expectation that this time will be taken in blocks of e.g. one or two weeks rather than single days. )
  • Your research and scholarly activity will be principally self-managed.  In addition, these activities (and their relationship with your other duties) will be considered as part of the staff appraisal and development system, under which objectives for the coming year (or other appropriate period) can be set and achievements over the past year (or other appropriate period) can be assessed.  The University undertakes to give you such support as is reasonable in the circumstances in order to help you to realise the objectives so set.


Know Your Contract

For further information and interesting key points about your contract, see here

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns you can join UCU here and contact one of our reps.

Protect Your Academic Freedom

rickvanderzwet-mortarboard-300pxTake The Survey With A Chance To Win £100 To Spend At John Lewis

The survey has been designed as part of a UCU initiative which seeks to provide improved help and guidance for UCU members in respect to their academic freedom rights and responsibilities. The findings arising from the survey will help the UCU both to develop a new national policy on academic freedom, and to produce appropriate support and training materials concerning academic freedom, for use by UCU members.

Take the survey by clicking here, with a chance to win £100 to spend at John Lewis

National Senior Management Survey


What is the National Senior Management Survey?

The National Senior Management Survey has been launched as a tool for academic staff around the UK to complete on the practices of their senior management team. The survey seeks to move the gaze from the narrow metrics of staff performance to the senior management teams who set the conditions through which staff performance becomes possible. In so doing it seeks to ask questions of the current trajectory of higher education in the UK and to broaden debate about what universities should and could be for our students.

Please click here to complete the survey or select it from the Workload menu

Workload Survey Results

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Survey Highlights Worrying Concerns Over Workload

UCU has published a survey taken by staff, highlighting some real concerns over workload and stress in the workplace. The major findings are as follows:

  1. staff in both the higher education and further education sectors are working an average of more than two days unpaid every week
  2. workload is unmanageable and unsustainable for the majority of academic staff and lecturers
  3. staff are taking on more responsibility and administration
  4. student expectations have increased
  5. professional and career development is suffering as a result of increasing workload pressures.

The full story may be found here

Know Your Contract

As workload increases with increasing pressures in both teaching and research, it pays to know how your contract protects you. Take a look at our section on the Post-92 contract which applies to Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Principal Lecturers.

Is It All Getting Too Much?

Don’t forget that our friendly UCU representatives are here to help. If you’re not already a member, you can join UCU by clicking here. Contact our representatives by clicking here.


Staff Views On Lecture Capture Published


The results are in!

Huddersfield University’s academic staff (all of whom are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy) have been surveyed by UCU with regards to the proposed lecture capture system. Their professional opinion is summarized in the document below.

Click here for the survey results

 Key Points

  • 73% of staff surveyed believe that attendance at lectures would go down. This might have a negative impact on the experience of students attending lectures. Part of the enjoyment of a lecture is the contact with fellow students.
  • 85% of staff surveyed believe that lecture capture would involve a lot of extra work in editing etc. Perhaps staff would prefer to be concentrating on providing more face-to-face contact with students rather than editing video.
  • 65% of staff surveyed think this doesn’t represent value for money for the student. If the university starts to rely more and more upon recordings of lectures, the quality of which is not guaranteed (especially without editing), how will students feel about this?
  • 77% of staff surveyed believe that it will lead to a stultified (boring) and less spontaneous lecture experience. 75% of staff surveyed said it will lead to an uncomfortable and self-conscious experience for staff and students. There will be less humour, everyone (staff and students) will be on edge about everything said in the lecture because they know that it will be recorded.
  • 80% of staff surveyed said it will lead to students becoming more reluctant to participate in lectures. It’s not just the staff being recorded here!
  • 78% of staff surveyed believe many lectures with sensitive material will no longer have full and frank discussions. This is a major loss to a university where the whole idea is to debate openly and freely.

What Are We Asking For?

  • UCU is not against Lecture Capture per se, nor are we attempting to speak on behalf of students. We might comment on what students have mentioned or not mentioned to us, which is not the same as speaking on behalf of students.
  • UCU are asking for academics to be treated with respect as professionals and for their ability to judge the suitability and quality of teaching materials, and to have control over which materials they publish.
  • UCU are asking for academics to have their legal rights upheld, which (as with all performers) includes the legal right to decide whether or not they wish to be recorded.