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Home > Conditions of service > Joint staff > Leave > Study & research & contact leave

Study & research and contact leave

Policy information | Policy summary | Introduction | Applicable to | Not applicable to | Policy details | Related links | Roles and responsibilities

Policy information

Approved by Council Date 7 May 2007
Reviewed by HRMAG, ERMC, VCMAG, UHRC, IF, Senate, Staff Bodies (view acronym list)
Policy owner Director: Compensation & Benefits
Enquiries Director: Compensation & Benefits (view contacts)

Policy summary

  • Study and research leave may be granted to full-time staff on academic conditions of service to enable periods of uninterrupted study and research of a kind that is of benefit to the University and scholarship generally.
  • Study and research leave accrues at the rate of two months leave for every completed year of full-time service, with some variations for senior academics in leadership roles.
  • Study and research leave may be taken for periods of up to 12 months at a time and, depending on the length of time taken, this ordinarily begins on 1 Jan, 1 July or 1 October.
  • Study & research leave will not normally be granted during probation, a period of notice or within 3 years of the completion of the previous leave period.
  • Arrangements must be made with the HOD and Dean for a leave replacement. Leave replacements are funded from the department or faculty fund.
  • Contact leave is study and research leave used for shorter periods (1 to 3 months). It may not be taken during term time, except with approval.
  • Staff may be awarded a study and travel grant at the discretion of the DVC and may separately cash in whole months of leave credit in exchange for travel, subsistence or conference fees.
  • Application for study & research or contact leave must be submitted 3 months in advance. It must be supported by the HOD and Dean and approved by the relevant DVC.
  • A leave report must be submitted within one month of the end of the leave period.
  • The DVC may authorise previous service for study and research leave accumulation, whether at UCT or another institution.
  • A gratuity in respect of study and research leave not taken may be paid on retirement.
  • Should the staff member leave within a certain period after having taken study and research leave, a proportional refund must be paid to the University.

Introduction

Study and research leave may be granted to a staff member to enable a period of uninterrupted study and/or research that will be of benefit to the University and scholarship generally.

Study and research leave is a privilege not a right. The designated Deputy Vice-Chancellor has authority to grant, or withhold, study and research leave or contact leave.

Applicable to

  • Permanent full-time staff on academic conditions of service, including joint staff, who fulfil the standard requirements of teaching and learning, research and administration, unless where explicitly stated in the individual letter of contract.
  • Teaching only academics.
  • The Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellors and Deans.

Not applicable to

  • Part-time academic staff (academic staff who work less than forty hours a week)
  • Academic staff on research conditions of service
  • Temporary and contract (T1, T2) academic staff (contracts of employment of less than five years)

Policy details

  1. Study and research leave

    Definition

    1. 1.1. Study and research leave may be granted to a staff member to enable him or her to devote himself or herself to a period of uninterrupted study and/or research of a kind that will be of benefit to the University and scholarship generally, and may comprise the following examples:
      1. Conducting scholarly work and research that will result in an appropriate higher degree, required professional experience, publications or other scholarly outputs.
      2. study to improve teaching skills 'in a scholarly sense', subject to
      3. the submission of a clear motivation as to how he or she intends to apply the knowledge gained
      4. if he or she wishes to study teaching skills exclusively, the submission of evidence of scholarly endeavours in teaching which exceed the normal requirements in respect of teaching duties
      5. an indication of the forum where, and the methodology how, knowledge gained during the leave will be shared and communicated with peers

    Eligibility

    1. 1.2. A full-time permanent member of staff on academic conditions of service who fulfils the standard requirements of teaching, learning and research may be granted study and research leave.

    Accrual by academic staff

    1. 1.3. Study and research leave accrues at the rate of two months leave for every completed year of full-time service. This includes temporary service which has been recognised as probationary service, but excludes periods of study and research leave taken, periods converted to study grants and periods of special leave without pay in excess of one month. This accrual gives a staff member the opportunity to apply for a period of study and research leave.

      1.4. Accrual by the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellors is 1 month per year while Deans accrue 2 months per year. These study & research and contact leave conditions are reviewed through the Remuneration Committee of Council, and clarified in individual letters of contract.

      1.5. Deputy Deans and Heads of Department accrue an additional two weeks of study and research leave annually over and above the S&R leave accrued as an academic. In special circumstances the maximum accrual can be increased by approval of the DVC; this will not affect the maximum amount used in the calculation of the gratuity on retirement. This amount is accrued in arrears and pro-rated for part of the year served as Deputy Dean or Head. The pro-ration is applied as follows:

      Duration as DD/HOD Additional study and research leave
      Less than six months None
      Six to nine months as DD/HOD One week
      Ten to twelve months as DD/HOD Two weeks

      Note: Staff who serve as both Deputy Dean and Head of Department only accrue a total of an additional two weeks per annum (not 2 x two weeks).

      1.6. Research staff (or staff on research conditions of service) do not accrue study and research leave. Where accrual of one month per annum exists as a result of previous conditions of service, such accrual will continue while the staff member remains employed in the same post.

      1.7. Part-time staff do not accrue study and research leave. The DVC may, in exceptional circumstances, approve accrual of study and research leave. This must be clarified in the individual's contract of employment.
      Where accrual of one month per annum exists as a result of previous conditions of service, such accrual will continue while the staff member remains employed in the same post.

      1.8. Leave credit may be accrued up to a maximum of sixteen months.

    Periods of leave

    1. 1.9. Study and research leave may be granted for periods of six, nine or a maximum of twelve months, within the limits of the current credit of the applicant. Alternatively, one or two months may be granted for the specific purpose of completing a piece of writing.

      1.10. Leave for periods of six and twelve months must ordinarily begin on 1 January or on 1 July, and leave for a period of nine months must ordinarily begin on 1 October. Applications for leave for periods of six, nine or twelve months which are to begin on other dates, must state why a departure from the ordinary dates is necessary.

      1.11. Where leave begins in and/or includes January, the staff member may make arrangements with his or her head of department to take annual leave at another time in the year in question. Annual leave must be taken in the year it accrues; it may not be deferred. It thus follows that where a period of 12 months is taken over a calendar year, annual leave is not given.

      1.12. Leave credit which is not utilised in any period of study and research leave may be carried forward towards leave to be taken on a subsequent occasion.

    Probation

    1. 1.13. Study and research leave will not normally be granted to a staff member within the probationary period unless approved by the DVC and stated in the individuals' contract of employment.

    Periods between leave

    1. 1.14. Study and research leave will not normally be granted to a staff member within three years of the completion of his or her last period of study and research leave. However, in the interests of the department, a member of staff who is eligible for twelve months' leave may be permitted to take two periods of six months' leave. The second period of six months should be taken within twelve months of the expiry of the first.

    Arrangements during absence on leave

    1. 1.15. Study and research leave is granted only where the Head of Department, in consultation with the Dean, has proposed arrangements for the conduct of the department concerned during the staff member's absence.

      1.16. Arrangements for the satisfactory discharge of the duties of a Dean while on study and research leave must be acceptable to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor to whom the Dean reports.

  2. Contact leave

    Definition

    1. 2.1. Shorter periods of study and research leave which are taken as contact leave, is intended to enable a staff member to establish and maintain contact with colleagues pursuing common research interests, to collect material for research or to complete a piece of writing.

    Period of Contact leave

    1. 2.2. A member of staff may be permitted to use his or her leave credit for study and research leave for short periods (three weeks to three months) of contact leave, such credit then being correspondingly reduced by the number of whole months rounded up. Contact leave is usually granted for one month but may be extended to up to a total of 3 months, provided that normally not more than one month is taken during term time. Under exceptional circumstances it may be possible for a staff member to take less than a month's contact leave. Less than three weeks' contact leave, however, is not granted. Absences shorter than three weeks on 'University Business' should be regarded as special leave.

    Reduction of leave credit

    1. 2.3. Although staff members may take contact leave of varying lengths, leave credit is reduced in whole months only. Part of a month is rounded up.

    Arrangements during term time

    1. 2.4. Before contact leave will be permitted during term time, an application must have the support of the Head of the Department who will have ensured that suitable arrangements have been made in respect of the teaching duties of the applicant.

    Contact leave and special leave

    1. 2.5. Staff members will not normally be permitted to add contact leave onto a period of special leave.

  3. Funding

    Grants to staff

    1. 3.1. Study and research leave and contact leave are granted with full pay and rights.

      3.2. A member of staff who takes study and research leave may, at the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for the purpose, be awarded a study travel grant
      1. subject to the submission and approval of a budget
      2. once only in respect of each entitlement to twelve months of leave
      3. of up to R 7 500 for travel anywhere outside South Africa
      4. of up to R 2 000 for travel within South Africa
      5. in addition to a grant from his or her leave credit (see below)
      3.3. A member of staff who takes study and research leave or contact leave may also receive a grant towards the costs of travel, subsistence and conference/course fees from part of his or her leave credit. If he or she does so, the grant will be awarded as follows:
      1. one month's encashment per two months' leave taken, up to a maximum of four months' encashment and his or her leave entitlement will be reduced by
      2. the period of actual leave taken and, in addition,
      3. the equivalent, in months, of the grant (that is, the amount of leave he or she has been allowed to 'cash in' as defined below)

      3.4. The maximum number of months which can be 'cashed in' in any two successive years will be four months. This can be taken as 2+2, 1+3, 3+1, 0+4 or 4+0 months provided that the budget is supported by the Head of Department and Dean in each case and approved, in the context of the application as a whole, by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for the purpose.

      3.5. When a staff member 'cashes in' a portion of his or her leave credit, the following conditions apply:

      1. Only whole months of leave may be 'cashed in', except in the case of staff who are or have been Department Heads or Deputy Deans with the entitlement to accrue, and hence to 'cash in', periods of less than a month.
      2. The period 'cashed in' may not exceed the current credit available to the staff member.
      3. The period 'cashed in' must be subject to submission and approval of a budget.
      4. The sum of money (i.e. the value of a month of leave credit) made available to all staff (regardless of rank) for each month of leave which is 'cashed in', is determined by management from time to time.
      5. The period of actual leave, together with the months that have been 'cashed in' to obtain a grant, will be treated as the period of service during which study and research leave does not accrue.

    Funds for leave replacements

    1. 3.6. Funds for the replacement of staff on study and research and contact leave are not provided by a central fund. The Dean has the discretion to make funding available from faculty budgets.

  4. Applications, approvals and reporting

    Timing of application

    1. 4.1. A member of staff wishing to take study and research or contact leave should apply at least three months before he or she wishes to go on leave.

    Documentation

    1. 4.2. A staff member who wishes to take study and research leave or contact leave must apply, using the prescribed form, through his or her Head of Department and Dean to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for the purpose. A proposed programme of study and research and an updated curriculum vitae must be submitted. In the event that the staff member wishes to study towards the completion of a higher degree, proof of registration and progress must be submitted.

      4.3. If a staff member wishes to receive a study travel grant or a grant towards costs during study and research or contact leave, he or she must submit a detailed budget with his or her application.

    Approval of leave

    1. 4.4. A member of staff may not proceed on study and research or contact leave unless leave has been supported by his or her Head of Department and Dean, and approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for the purpose.

      4.5. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor has authority to grant, or withhold, study and research leave or contact leave. In exercising this authority he or she shall take into account the staff member's record of scholarly activity (in particular his or her teaching and/or research and publication record) in order to determine whether or not the granting of such leave is likely to serve the purposes for which it is intended.

    Change of dates

    1. 4.6. A member of staff who wishes to change the dates or programme content of his or her approved study and research or contact leave, must seek approval for the changes as soon as these are known and before going on leave.

    Leave reports

    1. 4.7. A member of staff is required to submit a report via his or her Head of Department to his or her Dean within one month of return from study and research or contact leave.

      4.8. The Dean will submit this to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for this purpose, who considers it in relation to the programme approved on application.

      4.9. Subsequent leave applications will not be considered unless a report on the previous period of study and research or contact leave has been submitted and approved.

  5. Recognition of previous service for study and research leave

    Other institutions

    1. 5.1. Up to one half of any period of continuous service on the staff of another university, or other teaching or research institute, approved for the purpose by the University of Cape Town, may be recognised for study and research or contact leave purposes, if this service carried entitlement to leave of a similar kind and if the staff member was not granted this leave or pay in lieu of it. Proof of such entitlement must be submitted by the staff member concerned before credit is approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor designated by the Vice-Chancellor for the purpose.

    UCT

    1. 5.2. When a temporary member of staff takes up a permanent appointment, and a portion of his or her temporary service is recognised for probationary purposes on the authority of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for academic affairs, the same period of temporary service will be recognised for study and research or contact leave purposes at the rate of two months per annum.

    Joint staff

    1. 5.3. When a member of the joint staff (WCG or NHLS) is appointed to a University post, up to six months of his or her annual leave credit may be converted to a study and research leave credit. The annual leave credit, provided in working days, will be converted to months and rounded up.

  6. Study & research leave and retirement, resignation or death

    Approval

    1. 6.1. Study and research or contact leave may be granted at any stage up to retirement. It is a requirement that it must be for a period of uninterrupted study and research that will be of benefit to the University and scholarship generally. Each application will be considered on its merits.

    Gratuity

    1. 6.2. A gratuity in respect of the balance of unutilised study and research leave standing to the credit of a staff member may be paid to him/her on retirement, or to the widow, widower or dependent children in the case of death. The gratuity is three-eighths of the monthly benefit amount (BA) multiplied by the number of months of outstanding study and research leave. This gratuity is restricted to a maximum amount of the monthly BA multiplied by 4.5.

      6.3. The formula is ((Monthly COE amount x 70%) x 3/8) x no. of months outstanding S&R leave.

    Period of notice

    1. 6.4. Neither study and research nor contact leave may be included in the period of notice required when a staff member terminates his or her contract.

    Refund of cost of employment and grants

    1. 6.5. If a staff member gives notice immediately after a period of leave of any kind (of which part was study and research or contact leave) and is permitted to curtail the prescribed period of notice, he or she shall, unless the Council determine otherwise, be required to refund the cost of employment for the period of his or her absence and any travel grant and other allowance he or she received in respect of the period of study and research.

      6.6. Should a staff member leave the University within six months of a period of study and research leave of six months or less, or within twelve months of a period of study and research leave of more than six months, he or she must refund such part of the cost of employment, travel grant and other allowance as is proportionate.

Related links

Roles and responsibilities

Read in conjunction with HR Delegated Authorities.

Role Responsibilities
Deputy Vice Chancellor
  • Grants or withholds study & research and contact leave
  • Approves study & research leave credit from other institutions
  • May increase accrual for Deputy Deans and HODs
  • Approves study & research leave during probation
  • Approves/arranges work replacement for Deans on study & research leave
Staff member
  • Conducts study & research of value to UCT and scholarship in general
  • Applies for study & research leave according to policy and supplies supporting documentation
  • Submits study & research leave reports
Remuneration Committee of Council
  • Reviews accrual of study & research leave by the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Deans
Head of Department
  • Indicates support for staff members in his or her department wanting to take study & research leave
  • Arranges/approves work replacements for staff members
Dean
  • Indicates support for staff members in his or her faculty wanting to take study & research leave
  • Arranges/approves work replacements for HOD
  • May make funds available from faculty budget for leave replacement
Human Resources
  • Assists staff members to make leave calculations

Approved by SEC (6/11/06)

Approved via PC01/2007 (7 May 2007)

Page last updated: 20 September 2017