The University will remain open for essential operations and services across Christmas and New Year.

There will be an extended Christmas period where non-essential operations and services will close from Friday 18 December to Monday 4 January 2021.

Why are you doing this?

We recognise the extraordinary commitment that staff have made in supporting our community response to the pandemic. In recognition of this, we are establishing a clear, coordinated two week period, which does not require extra leave, but which does offer a chance for an extended break. For those staff required to work, who support our essential operations and services, we will ensure an equivalent opportunity at a later date.

How many additional days does this cover?

This will allow for 4 additional days: Monday 21, Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 December 2020

I have already booked annual leave on one or more of the days included in the extended Christmas period, do I get it back?

Under normal circumstances the University would be closed from 25 December 2020 until 1 January 2021 and, as in previous years, 6 days leave should be deducted from your annual leave entitlement to reflect this period. Visit the anuual leave: taking holiday pages for more information.

If you have already booked annual leave for the 21, 22, 23 or 24 of December 2020, you no longer need to deduct this from your annual leave entitlement.

How will the University be supporting students during this time / aren't Universities supposed to stay open to support students?

As normal, the University will remain open for essential operations and services across Christmas and New Year, to support students who spend time on campus over this period. This includes operations and services such as urgent maintenance, cleaning, library, security and some catering. Some parts of the University's operations, like York Sports Village and receptions only close on certain days such as Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

At the time of publishing this FAQ, we don't yet know of new guidance that might shape our winter break preparations, or whether we might have more students than normal wishing to remain on campus and needing support. We are planning in advance to form our core essential operations team, including those who will help take part in duty rotas, and those who can help us upscale any support if needed.

What services and facilities will remain open, will I be expected to work?

Essential operations and services will continue, along with services and facilities integral to the wellbeing and safety of individuals on campus. Therefore, some staff will be required to work. We don't yet know of unfolding events or new guidance that might shape our winter break preparations, or whether we might have more students than normal wishing to remain on campus and needing support.

Your manager will advise you if you are required to work. Discussions are underway on how to recognise the efforts of those who are required to work over the Christmas break. Further details will be communicated to those affected in due course.

If I am required to work over the Christmas period, can I take the additional days off at another time?

If you are required to work on the concessionary days for essential operational reasons, you will be able to take the equivalent time off at another time, by arrangement with your line manager. The standard arrangements for booking time off/reflecting time worked will apply for the remainder of the Christmas break.

I am a member of technical staff and I need to maintain key facilities or attend to laboratories over this period - how does this relate to me?

If you are required to work in these circumstances, it is likely that your department is used to operating a rota over the Christmas period and this will be extended to cover the whole period. You can then arrange alternative time off at a later date.

I work in a section/department that is required to work 18 - 24 December but I have already booked annual leave on one or more of these days, will I get my annual leave back?

In order to extend the Christmas period, people may need to be available to be rostered over the Christmas break. If you have booked leave, so will not be available on a specific day or days, you will not receive the time back at an alternative time. If, however, you opt to make yourself available for work throughout this period, you will not be expected to take leave.

Can I choose to work during the concessionary leave days?

We encourage all staff to take a break for rest and wellbeing, so unless you are required/expected to work for essential operational reasons, we would encourage you not to work during the concessionary leave days or the rest of the Christmas break.

We understand that some colleagues will be looking to use time between the end of term and the start of the Spring term to prepare materials. There is no expectation for staff to work during this period, but we are sensitive to the fact some colleagues will see this as valuable time. If you opt to work during the extended break, you will not be able to claim these days on another occasion.

We would encourage our staff who can, to use this extended Christmas period break as much as possible to rebalance aspects of work and life. We know there is no ideal time for everyone, but we want to create a clear break and reduce non-essential online meetings and, for example, minimise email/slack traffic, over this period.

What about staff who are on parental leave*, career break, long term sick or unpaid leave over the Christmas break; are they entitled to accrue the additional four concessionary days?

The purpose of the extended Christmas period is to provide as many staff as possible with a coordinated period of rest away from work. This is a goodwill gesture to reflect the contribution of staff at this difficult time and is not an entitlement. It is therefore only available to those staff who are required/expected and available to be working during this period.

I'm on parental leave, what if I planned to do a Keep In Touch (KIT) day on one of the days on which the extra leave falls?

If you have planned a KIT day on the 21, 22, 23 or 24 of December, speak to your line manager at the earliest opportunity to rearrange this.

What if I am ill on one of the days of the extended period, can I claim those days at a later date?

No, if you fall ill when on annual leave, the University sickness absence policy allows you to retake the time in lieu for pre-booked holiday, including customary closure days and bank holidays. However, the four concessionary days are not a contractual entitlement, therefore the policy does not apply. If you fall ill during the four concessionary days, you cannot claim those days off in lieu.

I have already carried annual leave forward from the last holiday year. Will I be able to take this after 31 December or will I lose it?

Whilst we would encourage staff to use any leave carried forward at the earliest opportunity, we recognise that operational demands mean that it will not always be possible to accommodate this prior to 31 December. We would, however, expect any carried forward leave to be used within the remainder of the holiday year. For the majority of staff this will be by 30 September 2021.

* This includes Maternity leave, Paternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave, Adoption Leave and Unpaid Parental Leave.