Work/life balance

We support you and your family in a variety of ways, including a generous annual leave entitlement, blended and flexible working, and an onsite nursery.

Leave and absence

Annual leave 

We recognise the importance of taking time to rest and recharge and provide generous annual leave to colleagues, as follows:

  • Professional Services colleagues: 25 days + seven University days 
  • Academic colleagues: an additional five days
  • We provide seven “University days” which are taken as follows: three days at Easter; three days at Christmas; one additional day.
  • You also have the option to purchase up to 10 additional days of leave every year. 

*Variations apply to colleagues working via Operate Surrey

Family leave

We have a number of policies in place to help colleagues balance work and family caring responsibilities. These include a generous maternity leave policy and paternity and shared parental leave policies. We are committed to supporting our colleagues in these circumstances and to encouraging an appropriate environment of support and understanding.

Colleagues with family care responsibilities are eligible for up to five discretionary days of additional annual leave. This helps to deal with those family emergencies which often arise.

Adoption, foster to adopt and surrogacy

We are fully committed to helping working parents balance the needs of work and family life, and appreciate the importance of providing choice for parents in how they arrange parental care during the first year of a child's life or following their adoption.


The Sabbatical Leave Scheme has been developed as an essential feature of the University’s commitment to strengthening the skills, knowledge and expertise of our academic staff. All academic staff have the right to apply for sabbatical leave. Applications from staff on teaching track will be considered on their merits.

Sickness absence

We have a sickness policy which aims to strike a reasonable balance between the pursuit of our operational needs and the genuine need of our colleagues to take time off work because of ill health or injury.

Working arrangements

Blended working

We strive to create an environment where people feel empowered to work where they can best deliver the impact required in their role, and therefore offer blended working in many roles.

Flexible working

We strive to create an environment where people feel empowered to work when they can best deliver the impact required in their role, and therefore offer flexible working arrangements in many roles. This is particularly useful for working parents.


We recognise that there may be a need for some of our colleagues to work over and above their normal contractual weekly hours to carry out specific projects or work during busy times. Normally this will be addressed through the application of the time off in lieu (TOIL) policy. Occasionally it may be more appropriate to reward additional hours worked with an overtime payment instead of TOIL, for those on grade L05 and below.

Time off in lieu

We recognise that the nature of our work means that on occasions colleagues will be needed to work outside recognised working hours due to specific circumstances e.g. supporting a specific event. On these occasions, we offer time off in lieu (TOIL) as agreed with your line manager.

On call

Where colleagues are required to be available to work, to respond effectively to threats posed to the continued operation of business, risk to health and safety or the environment, impact the student experience or cause reputational damage, they will be recompensed where this entails working unsocial hours.

Child care

Bright Horizons’ Guildford Day Nursery and Preschool provides our colleagues with flexible, on-site childcare. The nursery is open between 8am and 6:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), and offers all the following:  

  • Full and part-time places 
  • Open for children from three months to five years 
  • Free settling-in sessions 
  • Ofsted Registered ‘Good’ 
  • Onsite chef prepares all meals  
  • All-inclusive fees (formula, meals, nappies, wipes and creams included).