The checklist should be used alongside the NEU’s model policy below on special leave to help you negotiate a policy acceptable to the union. You may not be able to secure everything on this checklist – if that is the case, you may wish to consult members on whether the proposed policy is sufficiently positive to be acceptable. 

Check for the following:

  • Is there a statement from the employer (academy chain or governing body) which states that they recognise the importance of consistency, fairness and equality?
  • Does the policy set out clear and specific entitlements to leave, and confirm that these will be granted where cases are agreed to fit the criteria?
  • Are staff leave entitlements in line with, or broadly in line with, those in the NEU model policy on special leave?
  • Is there a commitment to transparency and open dialogue?
  • Is it clear that the policy will apply to all staff in the school/academy trust?

Roles, responsibilities and procedure

  • Is the employee’s responsibility clear?
  • Is the process for making an application/request clear?
  • Is the timescale for making an application clearly defined?
  • Is the role of the manager clear?
  • Does it state that requests will be considered sympathetically and compassionately?
  • Does it state that requests will not be unreasonably refused and that leave will be granted where cases fit the criteria?
  • Is it clear when an employee will be told the outcome of their application?
  • Is there an option for the employee to discuss issues with human resources (HR)?
  • Is the role of HR clear in the policy?
  • Is there a commitment to maintaining confidentiality?
  • Does it state that HR is responsible for implementing the policy?
  • Is it clear where staff should go for further information?
Special leave - model school policy

Model policy on special leave framework that schools can adopt to enable employees to request reasonable time off for a variety of personal, domestic, family, civic and public duties which impact on their working lives.