1. Introduction

1.1 The University of Glasgow promotes a positive and healthy work-life balance and recognises the importance of annual leave in achieving this. This policy, which applies to all members of staff, aims to provide a fair, consistent and equitable approach to the accrual and taking of annual leave, ensuring that individual needs are balanced with operational requirements.

2. Principles

2.1 It is important that members of staff take regular breaks from their duties through annual leave.

2.2 The holiday leave year operates from 1 January to 31 December.

2.3 Members of staff are expected to take their annual leave entitlement within the leave year period.

2.4 Entitlements to leave are pro-rated for part-time/term-time staff, and those who join or leave part-way through a leave year.

2.5 Leave is granted subject to operational requirements.

2.6 All members of staff will be expected to take any outstanding holidays before leaving the University. Normally no additional payment will be made for leave not taken. Similarly, where leave has been taken in excess of the entitlement, a pro-rated adjustment will be made and deducted from the final salary payment.

2.7 This policy will be applied in a fair and consistent manner and without discrimination, in line with the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy.

3. Annual Leave Entitlement

3.1 All full-time employees are entitled to 32 (thirty-two) days annual leave (including four other days which are fixed by the University) plus 9 public holidays. These are typically Christmas Eve and three days following the Boxing Day public holiday.

3.2 Public holidays: Employees are entitled to 9 public holidays per annum, these being:

  • New Year’s Day
  • 2 January
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day
  • Spring Bank Holiday
  • Glasgow Fair Monday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Should Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day or 2 January fall on a weekend, the following Monday/Tuesday will be designated as the public holiday(s). Where Christmas Eve falls on a weekend the preceding working day will be designated as a leave day as an alternative. The remaining ‘other days’ will fall on the next three working days following Boxing Day.

3.3 Working on public holidays/’other days’: In order to meet operational/business requirements, staff in certain areas may be asked to work on designated public holidays or the  ‘other days’ which are typically fixed. Where a member of staff is asked to work on a designated public holiday/’other day’ and they agree to do so they will be given the equivalent period of leave to be taken at another time agreeable to both the line manager and the member of staff in line with the normal booking arrangements (unless they are already contracted to work on such days). In addition, staff in grades 1 to 5 will qualify for enhanced payment where the work takes place on a public holiday. No enhanced payment will be due where the work takes places on an other day’.

3.4 Holiday entitlement for part-time staff: Holiday entitlement for part-time/term-time staff, which includes entitlement to public holidays and ‘other days’, will be proportionate to the number of hours the member of staff is contracted to work. For the purposes of clarity, leave for part-time staff is expressed in hours due (which will incorporate the pro-rata entitlement to public holidays and the four other fixed days).

Some staff may work compressed hours either on an individually agreed basis or as part of a shift/rota pattern. In these circumstances the individual leave entitlement does not change however it will also typically be expressed in hours to reflect the fact that colleagues may work fewer days than those on standard work patterns and that some working days may be longer than others.  

3.5 Holiday entitlement for starters and leavers: Staff who join or leave the University during the leave year will be granted a proportion of the total holiday entitlement (32 days) at a rate of 1/365th days in any given leave year rounded to the nearest half day or pro-rated equivalent. Please note, where a member of staff leaves the University and they have exceeded their annual leave entitlement, they will be required to re-pay to the University any excess taken. Such sums will be deducted from their final salary payment. New starters will receive a minimum of 4 days (or pro-rata equivalent) to ensure that those joining late in the year have sufficient leave entitlement to take the four “other days” which are fixed by the University. 

3.6 Employees on Fixed Term contracts will have their pro-rata leave entitlement calculated on the same basis as a new starter/leaver based on an annual equivalent of 32 days. They will additionally receive any public holidays which fall within the period of their contract.

3.7 Employees can view their holiday entitlement via Employee Self Service

An Annual Leave Calculator is available here.

4. Employee Responsibilities - Booking/Taking Annual Leave

4.1 Members of staff should request annual leave through Employee Self Service.

4.2 When submitting a request for annual leave reasonable notice should be given. Please note that local arrangements regarding specific notice periods may apply.

4.3 The taking of leave is by agreement with the line manager who will take into account both individual preferences and operational/business requirements.

4.4 It may not be practicable for line managers to approve annual leave at specific times in the University calendar i.e. due to special activities or events, peak periods etc. These times will vary across the University Services and Colleges.

4.5 Annual leave should normally be taken in full or half days.

5. Manager Responsibilities

5.1 In order that leave can be accurately recorded and monitored, line managers must ensure that all staff request annual leave through Employee Self Service. The manager will then be prompted through Manager Self Service to approve (or reject) the leave requested.

5.2 Where an annual leave request is turned down, the reason for this is required in the system and is emailed back to the member of staff.

5.3 Line managers should communicate to staff as soon as reasonably practicable those periods during which, due to operational requirements, it may not be appropriate to take annual leave i.e. where the team/section is involved with or responsible for special activities or events; due to peak periods; to ensure sufficient cover etc.

5.4 Whilst staff are expected to provide due notice when requesting a period of annual leave, some flexibility may be required depending on the circumstances surrounding the request.

5.5 Line managers should proactively review and monitor the annual leave of their team, ensuring that staff are taking their leave due, and that holidays are planned in such a way that the team/section has adequate cover at all times.

6. Carrying Annual Leave Forward

6.1 While members of staff are expected to take their holidays in the leave year in which they have accrued, staff may, with the agreement of their Head of School/University Service, carry forward a maximum of 5 days holiday into the next leave year (pro-rated for part-time staff). 

Where, as a result of extenuating circumstances, a member of staff has been unable to take their full leave entitlement, requests to carry forward leave will not be unreasonably refused. Any days carried forward must be taken by 31 March that year or the holidays will lapse. Where there are maternity related or long-term sick leave implications please refer to Section 7.

7. Absence & Holidays

7.1 Illness during holiday: Members of staff who fall sick either during a period of annual leave or just prior to the leave commencing, will be permitted to reclaim those days lost through illness (or, in the latter case, may reschedule their annual leave for another time once they have recovered) and should as far as possible provide evidence of their illness (e.g. a medical certificate) in order to do so. This period of absence will then be recorded as sickness absence. This arrangement also applies to public holidays/’other days’. 

7.2 Accrual of holidays during periods of sickness absence: Typically, holiday entitlement will continue to accrue as normal during periods of sickness absence. In cases of long term sickness absence, where this would result in holidays being carried into the next leave year, members of staff should seek advice from their College/University Services P&OD Team regarding entitlement.

7.3 Accrual of holidays during maternity, adoption and paternity leave: Members of staff will continue to accrue contractual holiday entitlement (including entitlement to public holidays and ‘other days’) as normal during the full period of maternity, adoption and paternity leave. For further details please see our other Leave Policies.

8. Calculating Entitlement

8.1 Information on annual leave balance and entitlement for employees can be viewed in Employee Self Service.

The HR System automatically schedules absence for Public Holidays and the four other fixed days unless, as may be the case for some part-time staff, these fall on non-working days. Where employees do not have a fixed work pattern the HR system is not able to calculate leave entitlement and hence this is managed “off system”. This will most commonly apply to hourly paid staff. As with other part-time employees annual leave entitlement is accrued on a pro-rata basis based on 32 days plus any public holidays which fall within the period of the contract. A simple‌ Annual Leave Calculator for Hourly Paid Staff has been made available for use by Administrators.

9. Holiday Pay

9.1 When staff go on leave they continue to receive their normal pay. This includes basic salary and all other contractual allowances where applicable.   

9.2 Where staff carry out voluntary overtime this is also taken in to account for the first 20 days leave of each calendar year. This reflects the manner in which UK case law is interpreting the Working Time Directive.

9.3 When an employee takes holiday that falls within the first 20 days of booked leave in the calendar year (or pro-rata equivalent), any overtime, callout or similar recurring types of additional taxable earnings for the past three months are taken into account when calculating the pay they will receive whilst on leave. This means that they will receive notional overtime pay for each day of leave based on the “average” amount of overtime paid over the three months prior to the leave being taken.

9.4 For example, if a member of staff takes leave in January they would receive a payment for Notional Holiday Overtime based on the average amount of overtime they were paid during the three months from October to December for each day of leave booked.

Part-time staff

9.5 In the case of part-time staff the same principle is applied including any earnings for additional hours worked. The number of days leave to which this applies will be pro-rated based on their hours. Hence someone working 3 days a week or 0.6 fte would potentially receive Notional Holiday Overtime (additional hours) for the first 12 days (20 x 0.6) of annual leave they book or the equivalent period in hours if this is how their annual leave is calculated (12 x 7 or 84 hours in this case).

9.6 Similarly a member of staff working compressed hours who receives their annual leave allowance in hours will be eligible to receive such Notional Holiday Overtime payments for the first 20 x 7 or 140 hours of annual leave booked.

9.7 Payment of any accrued Notional Holiday Overtime Pay will be made in the month following the annual leave being taken in line with other actual overtime/additional hours payments earned in that month.

9.8 This approach to calculating Notional Holiday Overtime was introduced by the University from January 2018. 


10. Policy Review

This policy will be regularly reviewed by the University and may be amended at any time following appropriate consultation.

11. Further Information

For further advice and information on this policy, please contact your College/University Services P&OD Team.

Document Control

Document Control


Policy name

Annual Leave Policy

Implementation date

10 April 2015

Last reviewed

10 January 2022


People & OD – Employee Relations