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Holiday Buy Scheme

‌‌St Mary’s University Purchase of Additional Leave Scheme

Guidance Notes for 2023/24 Leave Year

1.      Background

The University is committed to providing policies and arrangements which promote and support work-life balance for its employees, and recognises that some employees may wish to increase their annual leave entitlement for various reasons.  The Purchase of Additional Leave Scheme provides a mechanism for employees to manage their personal commitments in a planned way by allowing the cost to additional leave to be spread over 10 months for the 2023/24 Annual Leave year. 

All employees are eligible to request additional leave, regardless of their grade or length of service, providing their contract is current for the total duration of the annual leave year in which they are applying for additional leave.

Employees can request up to five days additional leave, prorated for part time employees. These additional days will be treated as a temporary addition to existing leave entitlement.  Requests are subject to line management approval.

The scheme is not contractual and the University reserves the right to withdraw or amend it.

 2.      Application process 

  • Employees wishing to purchase additional leave are encouraged to discuss their requests informally with their line manager as soon as possible so that:
    •  the employee can plan the 2023/24 holidays
    • the line manager can assess the impact of additional leave on work commitments, etc.   
  • Formal requests for additional leave can only be made between 1st September and 3rd October (the “window of opportunity”).  Approved additional leave will then be added to the annual leave entitlement in October, and payroll deductions will also commence in October.
  • Employees should submit a formal application to their line manager.
  • Managers should consider requests for additional leave fairly and consistently.
  • If, after due consideration, a request has to be turned down for business reasons, the reasons for doing so should be given to the employee.
  • The line manager is responsible for obtaining the appropriate level of approval from their Dean or Director of Service. Once approval is given, the line manager should sign the form and return to the employee.
  • It is the responsibility of the employee to submit the completed form to the HR Helpdesk ( by the deadline date – midnight Tuesday 3rd October 2023.
  • Forms received by HR after 3rd October 2023 will not be processed.
  • There will be no right of appeal if an application is not approved.
  • The employee will receive an email acknowledging receipt of the form. The leave entitlement will be added to the employee’s annual leave entitlement on iTrent (HR system) and Peoplenet, and the application form retained on the employee’s personal file.

 3.      Leaving during year

If an employee leaves the university during the Leave Year (August – July) he/she will be required to pay back any outstanding monthly deductions from salary for additional holiday entitlement.  If the final salary is not sufficient to allow for this deduction, HR will contact the individual before to confirm arrangements for repaying the outstanding amount.

When calculating any outstanding leave, HR will assume the following order in which Annual Leave is used:

  1. days bought via the Purchase of Additional Leave Scheme
  2. long service days for those with 10/15/20/25/30 years’ service – these “one off” additional days should not be confused with the additional 2 days those with 23 days annual leave entitlement receive after 5 years’ service
  3. annual leave entitlement.

 4.      Change in hours/salary

If there is a change in salary e.g. change in hours, change in role, etc. HR will review the arrangements regarding the additional leave, and make any necessary adjustments to pay, etc.

 5.      Effect on benefits - pension scheme

We have three pension schemes - Teachers Pension Scheme, Staff Pension Scheme (Aviva), and the Local Government Pension Scheme.  Pension contributions will continue as normal, and will not be affected by the purchase of additional annual leave. 

6.  Application form

Purchase of Additional Leave form 2023/24

7. Equality impact assessment

These guidelines have been produced in line with the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy Statement and Code of Practice.