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Shorter Working Year Scheme


The Shorter Working Year Scheme was announced in the Spring Budget 2009.  This Scheme was initially run for 3 years, however the Department of Education and Skills have now confirmed that it will continue indefinitely, until advised otherwise by the Department.  

Key Features of the Shorter Working Year Scheme are:

  1. The scheme is open to all permanent and temporary staff of the University. 
  2. Staff on probation at the time it is proposed to take the unpaid special leave are not entitled to participate.
  3. Under the terms of the scheme, a staff member may apply on an annual basis for unpaid special leave of up to 13 consecutive weeks.  It may be taken as 1 continuous period, or as a maximum of 3 separate periods.  Applications must be made in the year prior to taking the leave if reduced pay is to be spread over a 12 month period.
  4. Where the leave requested is for a period of between 2 and 13 weeks, staff may request to have their reduced pay spread over a 12 month period.
  5. Staff with an annual leave allowance of over 20 days will have their leave reduced on a pro rata basis in accordance with paragraph 5 of Circular 14/2009.

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How it works

Staff interested in this scheme should initiate discussions with their Head of School/Unit as soon as possible. Where staff wish to have their reduced pay spread over a 12 month period, applications must be submitted to the Head of School/Unit for approval by 1 December 2018. All application forms must be returned by the Head of School to UCD HR Operations, Roebuck Offices:

  • By 7 December 2018 if the staff member has requested that their reduced pay be spread over a 12 month period.
  • At least 4 weeks prior to the commencement date of the period of unpaid leave in all other cases.

It should be noted that while each case will be considered on its merits, in accordance with the rules of the schemes, the University will be in a position to refuse applications in the context of operational and/or service delivery requirements and will also have regard to school/unit staff plans and any prevailing policies on replacements.

Queries may be sent to


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Relevant Documents and Links

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