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Shorter working year

Page updated 21 December 2023

The Shorter Working Year scheme enables employees to take unpaid leave of up to 13 weeks with the possibility of spreading the reduced salary over a 12-month period. Learn about the background to the scheme, how to apply and what terms and conditions are associated with it.

Key features of the scheme

The Shorter Working Year Scheme was announced in the Spring Budget 2009 as a cost saving measure.  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.

  • The scheme is open to all permanent and temporary staff of the University. 
  • Staff on probation at the time it is proposed to take the unpaid special leave are not entitled to participate.
  • 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.

How can leave be taken?

  • 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. 
    • Leave can 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.
  • 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. Applications must be made in the year prior to taking the leave if reduced pay is to be spread over a 12 month period.

Application Process

If you are interested in this scheme you will need to initiate discussions with your Head of School/Unit as soon as possible. If you plan to have your reduced pay spread over a 12 month period, then you'll need to submit your application to your Head of School/Unit for approval by Friday, 15th November 2024. All Shorter Working Year Application Form 2024-2025 must then be returned by the Head of School to (opens in a new window)hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie:

  • By Friday, 29th November 2024 if the you have requested that your reduced pay be spread over a 12 month period in 2025.
  • At least 4 weeks before you commence your 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 (opens in a new window)hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie

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)