Policy Snapshot

Eligible staff may request:
- Up to 3 days paid 'Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants' Leave
- Up to 5 days paid Carers Leave (and/or up to 4 weeks unpaid leave) 

The University maintains a Carers Register and staff must opt-in (see para 4.4) to this before requesting paid Carers Leave (this is not required to request unpaid leave).

Other supports are available, including Flexible Working and the University's Employee Assistance Programme. 

1. Introduction

A PDF version of this policy is available - 

1.1 The University acknowledges that beyond the workplace, employees may have to manage demands relating to the care of dependants. This may be on an emergency or on an ongoing basis. The University recognises the challenges that this can place upon employees and is committed to supporting individuals to meet their caring responsibilities.

1.2 This policy outlines the support available to employees with caring responsibilities (as per the definition below), including the provision of additional paid time off to deal with emergencies, paid Carers Leave and signposting to other potential support mechanisms all designed to improve flexibility around the pressures carers may face.

2. Definition

2.1 For the purposes of this policy, a carer is defined as an individual who provides support to a dependant who is affected by long-term* physical or mental illness or disability, addiction or problems relating to old age.

*‘long-term’ means the individual requires care for more than 3 months.


2.2 A dependant will typically be a:

  • spouse
  • partner
  • parent/parent-in-law
  • grandparent
  • civil partner
  • child
  • any adult who lives with the employee as part of their family and whom is dependent on the employee
  • anyone for whom the employee holds power of attorney

Caring responsibilities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Helping with personal care
  • Helping with mobility
  • Managing medication
  • Carrying out practical household tasks
  • Providing emotional support; and
  • Helping with financial matters or paperwork

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to all University of Glasgow employees who meet the definition outlined in section 2 above. Where this definition is met, the benefits of this policy apply from the first day of employment.

3.2 Employees are required to opt-in to the University’s Carers Register (see below) before requesting paid carers leave as outlined in this policy (this is not required to access unpaid leave).

4. Principles

4.1 The University recognises that employees may need to balance work and caring responsibilities and seeks to provide reasonable support to its carer population.

4.2 The University is committed to raising awareness of the role of carers (and the demands faced in the workplace) and will maintain the Scottish Government’s Carer Positive accreditation.

4.3 The University will maintain a ‘Carers Register’ in line with the recommendations of the ‘Carer Positive’ initiative in order to gauge and measure the extent of its carer population. The register will be maintained securely within the CoreHR system alongside other relevant employment information and managed in line with the HR Records retention schedule and associated privacy notice.

4.4 Employees who are carers are encouraged to identify themselves as such on the Carers Register. This will be essential in order to utilise the paid carers leave as outlined below and can be done through the Employee Self-Service Portal. (Access ‘My Profile’ (top right corner) > scroll down to ‘Diversity’ > select ‘Background’ then mark ‘Yes’ in the ‘Are you a Carer?’ field under ‘Family Details’).

4.5 Line managers are required to duly consider all requests for support consistent with policy provisions and should hold regular dialogue with employees to ensure a reasonable and supportive environment is maintained.

4.6 Staff with caring responsibilities must not be treated unfairly either as a result of their caring responsibilities or for requesting support in line with this policy. Requests for carers leave should not be unreasonably refused.

4.7 Due consideration must be given to relevant data protection obligations around an employee’s status and responsibilities as a carer, sharing information only as agreed with the employee and as far as is necessary to ensure effective support is provided.

5. Support for Carers

5.1 The following sections outline the range of support available to carers at the University of Glasgow. These include:

  • Flexible Working
    • Emergency Time off to Care for Dependants (Paid)
    • Carers Leave
      • Paid
      • Unpaid
    • Keeping in Contact
    • Employee Assistance Programme
    • Big White Wall
    • Carer Support Network

Flexible Working

5.2 Working with a degree of flexibility may enable carers to balance their responsibilities in a caring capacity with their work responsibilities, subject to the needs of the School/Service. Such arrangements may be considered on a short or longer-term basis and the University’s Flexible Working Policy provides further information around this option.

Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependents (Paid)

5.3 Carers may take up to 3 days paid leave under the University’s Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants Leave policy, in any rolling one year period. There is no requirement to opt-in to the Carers Register in order to utilise this leave type.

5.4 Emergency Time off to Care for Dependents should be requested/recorded through the Employee Self-Service portal as normal. Once 3 days of paid carers leave has been recorded, the system will revert to unpaid leave for any further days recorded up to the end of any rolling 1 year period.

5.5 This leave may be utilised to deal with unforeseen circumstances relating to the care of a dependant, or where care arrangements are temporarily disrupted or break down completely. The time taken should be enough for the carer to deal with/manage/respond to the emergency and/or make longer-term arrangements. 

5.6 Where further time off is required, emergency time off to care for dependents leave may be supplemented by carers leave (paid and/or unpaid) or annual leave.

Carers Leave

5.7 Carers leave is available* in the form of:

  • 5 days paid leave
  • up to 4 weeks unpaid leave

*based on any rolling 1 year period from the point of use

5.8 Carers Leave may be used for the specific purpose of supporting non-emergency/planned elements of their caring responsibilities. Examples (non-exhaustive) of applicable use may include:

  • supporting dependants at or around hospital or other care related appointments
  • attending care related training (e.g. how to administer medication)
  • being present for the design/installation of adaptations to a dependant’s living space
  • supporting dependants around an emergency which has continued beyond the 3 days covered by Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependents Leave

5.9 Carers Leave is offered in addition to Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependents leave and is available on a rolling one year basis, pro-rated for part-time staff.

Carers Leave (Paid)

5.10 Before requesting paid carers leave, carers must have previously registered on the University’s Carers Register. This can be done through the Employee Self-Service Portal by accessing ‘My Profile’ (top right corner) > scrolling down to ‘Diversity’ > selecting ‘Background’ then marking ‘Yes’ in the ‘Are you a Carer?’ field under ‘Family Details’.

5.11 After registering on the Carers Register (as per 5.10) Carers Leave should be requested/recorded through the Employee Self-Service Portal. Once 5 days of paid carers leave has been recorded, the system will revert to unpaid leave for any further days recorded up to the end of any rolling 1 year period.

Carers Leave (Unpaid)

5.12 Colleagues may also utilise up to 4 weeks of unpaid carers leave and this should be requested/recorded through the Employee Self-Service portal. There is no need to opt-in to the Carers Register to utilise unpaid carers leave.  

5.13 For longer term periods of unpaid leave, further dialogue may be appropriate and agreement will be at the discretion of the appropriate manager (in conjunction with the Head of School/Service) as appropriate.

5.14 Whilst on unpaid leave employees will:

  • retain continuity of employment
  • be entitled to progress through normal annual pay increments (where appropriate)
  • not receive salary, allowances or any other contractual benefits whilst superannuation payments will be suspended for the period (i.e. treated as a deferred member of the pension scheme – for further information on pension implications please contact Payroll or USS members will find further information on the USS 'Absence from work' factsheet
  • not normally be entitled to ill-health and death in service benefits
  • will not accrue entitlement to paid annual leave or be paid for public holidays or other days
  • will not be entitled to sickness leave even where this is medically certified
  • be entitled to conditions of service relating to notice of termination, redundancy compensation and disciplinary and grievance procedures

Keeping in Contact

5.15 In some circumstances, carers may benefit from having close access to a means of being contacted by a dependant (or vice-versa). This is likely to be through having a mobile phone accessible during work time and having an understanding that there may be a requirement to take calls (within reason) during work time.

Employee Assistance Programme

5.16 Carers may benefit from accessing the confidential support offered through the University’s Employee Assistance Programme. This can include personal counselling, information and signposting to a wide range of relevant support material.

Carer Support Network

5.17 Carers may benefit from peer-to-peer support via the University’s internal Carers and Parents Forum on Yammer.


6. Links / Resources

6.1 Further support and information is available from the following resources:

Carers Scotland (part of Carers UK)

Carers Trust

Flexible Working Policy

Other Leave/Time Off

UofG Car Parking

7. Review

7.1 This non-contractual policy was developed in full consultation with the Campus Trade Unions.

Document Control


Policy name

Support for Staff with Caring Responsibilities

Approved by

Policy Review Group

Implementation date

13 January 2020

Last reviewed

April 2024


People & OD – Employee Relations

Equality Impact Assessment

26 November 2019