skip to content

Equality & Diversity


University of Cambridge resources

Family-friendly policies

Shared Parental Leave Policy

The University's maternity leave period policy provides employees with benefits above the minimum legal requirements. Members of staff receive 18 weeks' full pay, followed by a further 21 weeks' Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) if they indicate that they will return to employment at the end of their leave period for at least three months.

The Graduated Return Policy allows a member of staff to return to work following maternity or adoption leave initially for a minimum 20% of full-time hours. It is expected that the member of staff will then increase their hours over the following 12 months until they are back up to their contractual hours (either part or full-time).

Keeping In Touch (KIT) days: An employee may, with the agreement of her Head of Department, carry out up to 10 days' work during her maternity absence without bringing her leave to an end. The University's KIT policy reflects sector best practice with staff being paid for any hours worked.

Paternity leave

Employees are entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave under University policy, regardless of their length of service and entitlement to statutory paternity benefits. From 2011, the University introduced additional paternity leave and pay, providing parents with the option of dividing a period of paid leave entitlement between them. All employees, whose children are born or placed for adoption, and who meet the statutory requirements, are entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks' additional paternity leave with a maximum of 13 weeks' additional paternity pay.

The University also has policies on parental and adoption leave.


The University has day nurseries on two sites for children from three months to school age, and a Holiday Playscheme for school-age children. Staff can benefit from two salary exchange schemes to save tax and National Insurance payments on all or part of childcare costs. Out of the 160 nursery places, 20 are reserved for students, which is more than adequate to meet demand. The Childcare Information Service provides information on child-related issues and a free bi-weekly e-newsletter to ensure staff and student parents are kept up-to-date with child-related information and local family events. The Childcare Information Adviser can also help with child-related issues and queries over the phone, by email or in person. Additional nurseries are planned as part of the University's new North West Cambridge development.


The University runs its own Accommodation Service to assist University Staff, both current and those arriving to take up posts, in finding suitable accommodation.

Flexible working

Bearing in mind the University's commitment to equality, the policy on flexible working arrangements for University staff has been developed with the intention of helping members of staff to balance their commitments and interests outside work with their contractual duties and responsibilities. Flexible arrangements offered to members of staff under this policy cover a wide range of options, including part-time or term-time working, job share, compressed or annual hours, staggered hours or flexi-time.

Personal and Professional Development (PPD)

Personal and Professional Development within the University provides an extensive range of training and development opportunities specifically for staff.

Springboard is the personal development programme specifically for female staff, researchers and graduate students in the University. Key areas covered include communication skills, assertiveness, self confidence, improving work/life balance and developing positive skills and attitudes.

SET-specific careers advisors are part of a well-developed careers service for staff. This service offers personal one-to-one careers advice appointments, careers workshops and large-scale careers events.

As a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) the University is also engaged in international initiatives to strengthen career support for research staff. The University actively contributed to the development of LERU's model Code of Practice for Research Employment.

Employment and Career Management Scheme (ECMS) for research staff. Detailed guidance is provided for both researchers and their supervisors on HR processes including induction, probation and appraisal. The adoption and launch of the ECMS represents a major indicator of Concordat implementation in Cambridge and is consistent with LERU's Code of Practice.

Between 2009 and 2012, 22 events were delivered by the Women's Staff Network, WiSETI and Equality & Diversity, attracting over 1,500 women.

External Fellowships and awards

L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science

L'Oréal-UNESCO's For Women in Science programme recognises the achievements and contributions of exceptional females across the globe, by awarding promising scientists with Fellowships to help further their research. Professor Dame Athene Donald, Dr Anna Git, Dr Patricia Alireza and Dr Claire Spottiswood are among the Cambridge winners.

The L'Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science are awards offered by a partnership between L'Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society, to promote, enhance and encourage the contribution of women pursuing their research careers in the UK or Ireland in the fields of the life and physical sciences.

Royal Society Rosalind Franklin award

The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award is awarded annually for an outstanding contribution to any area of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The recipient of the award is expected to spend a proportion of the grant on implementing a project to raise the profile of women in STEM in their host institution and/or field of expertise in the UK.

Cambridge winners include:

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships are for scientists at an early stage of their research career who need a flexible working pattern because of personal circumstances, such as parental or caring responsibilities or health problems. Female candidates are particularly invited to apply.

Daphne Jackson Fellowships

Daphne Jackson Fellowships are designed to return scientists, engineers and technologists to their careers after a break. The Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored training programme to allow a re-entry at the appropriate level. The University currently sponsors a number of Daphne Jackson Fellows.