Explore UCD

UCD Home >
Image of two people talking
overlay image

Career Break

Page updated 9 August 2022

A career break is a period of unpaid leave with a maximum duration of 5 years. This section outlines the eligibility criteria for career breaks, details of the application process and key issues surrounding the return to work. You’ll also find the Career Break Policy and the forms you need to start the process.

It is advisable that you read and familiarise yourself with all the conditions pertaining to your return to work before you apply. These are outlined in detail in the Career Break Policy and in the returning from Career Break section.

Why take a career break?

Staff can apply for a variety of reasons including to spend more time with their families, to study full-time, carry out voluntary/community work or to travel. Before you proceed, you may wish to explore other leave types like Adoptive Leave, Parental Leave, Carers Leave, Bereavement Leave, Research Sabbatical.

Career Break Policy

The Career Break Policy applies to employees who are permanent or have been issued with contracts of indefinite duration (CID), have satisfactorily completed their probationary period and have ongoing satisfactory performance are eligible to apply.

There are two types of Career Break, each with specific conditions:

Career break up to maximum of 1 year

At the end of this period you will return to you substantive post with UCD.

Career break over 1 year up to maximum of 5 years

At the end of this period you may apply to return to UCD and will be offered the first vacancy at the grade you previously held, which arises in the School/Unit in which you worked. The university will not be able to guarantee a position for a career break over 1 year.

It is advisable that you read and familiarise yourself with all the conditions pertaining to your return to work before you apply. These are outlined in detail in the policy. You'll also find details the approval process and the effect of leave on pensionability and service.                            

Read the(opens in a new window) Career Break Policy now.

This section contains a summary of a UCD policy, however, in all cases the Policy remains the definitive source of information on the topic.

Career Break Application Process

  • Step 1: Consult the(opens in a new window) Career Break Policy as differing terms apply depending on the length of the break.
  • Step 2: Complete and submit the Career Break Application Form to your Head of School / Unit.
  • Step 3: Applications are considered by the Head of School / Unit and College Principal in the first instance. Applications must be made 3 months in advance of start date.
  • Step 4: If the application is approved, the Head of School / Unit submits the approved application to HR Operations via (opens in a new window)hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie (and not to UCD Pensions Office).

What happens next?

Having confirmed eligibility, HR then confirms Career Break details to the employee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, however these are operationally problematic so it is better to consider this at the very start of the career break process. There is no guarantee whatsoever in relation to extension applications and each case will be considered on its own merits taking account of the overall operational and staffing needs of the School/Unit at that time, including the impact on other employees.

The College Principal or Executive Head of School / Unit must consider any request in the light of operational requirements before approving a Career Break and must submit the relevant forms to HR in a timely manner.

Career Breaks are non-pensionable. Further details are contained in the Career Break Policy

For Career Breaks of up to 1 year you will return to your post.

For a Career Break greater than 1 year, you will be offered the first available vacancy at the grade, terms and conditions previously held in the school/unit in which you worked. Please consult the Career Break Policy for detailed information.

Contact the HR Helpdesk

The HR Helpdesk is the primary point of contact for all your employment-related queries by email and telephone.  We are here to help you with any queries on employee benefits, terms & conditions and HR policies & procedures. If we can’t help you directly, we will refer your query to a HR specialist area.

All visitors to UCD HR, Roebuck offices should be by appointment only and arrangements to be made with specific HR staff members.

(opens in a new window)hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie

+ 353-1-716-4900

Roebuck Offices,
UCD Belfield Campus.

UCD Human Resources

Roebuck Offices, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4900 | E: hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)