Flexible Working & Leave

We make it as easy as possible for staff to have a rich and balanced life at work and home.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the power of the UNSW community to rapidly tackle complex and immensely challenging feats. Together, by collaborating, we moved teaching online; we moved most of our community to remote working, and we supported each other through one of the most extraordinary periods in our organisation and our country’s history.

Having demonstrated our ability to work flexibly and productively, we want to continue to offer a ‘flex-first’ approach for all staff who wish to work in this way. We have introduced greater flexibility across location, hours, full-time equivalents, schedules and job sharing. We believe this will bring a range of benefits for our community. We encourage you to speak to us about what this might look like for you.

UNSW employees receive a range of leave entitlements that help staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance. A snapshot of these are provided below.

UNSW offers a range of flexible work options which reflect needs of our diverse workforce. Our Flexible Work Policy takes a principles-based approach and sets out a range of flexible work options, which may be considered on their own, or as multiple options which may apply at the same time.

Types of Flexible Work 

  1. Flex Place - Depending on the nature of your role, staff may choose to work from home or in an alternative work location that is both safe and productive. This may include full or partial days away from campus. Many staff find a hybrid model combines the best aspects of remote work with the benefits of coming to campus for collaboration, team-building, and non-remote tasks.  
  2. Flex Schedule - Staff may explore the option of flexibility in their usual schedule of work. This may include, but is not limited to, varied start/finish times to manage commutes, caring responsibilities, or engaging in activities to enhance wellbeing.  
  3. Flex Hours - A flexible work schedule provides the opportunity for staff to work in different ways for a specified period or on an ongoing basis. For example, a compressed work week or fortnight may mean working longer hours across fewer days, or part-time arrangements may be considered for an agreed period or on a permanent basis to allow more opportunities to manage work and other life responsibilities.  
  4. Flex Role - Job and role sharing provides many benefits to staff and enables development opportunities, provides options to gain a broader mix of skills and experience in different areas, or provides possible options for staff who wish to reduce their hours.  
  5. Flex Leave - Staff have the option to apply to purchase additional leave during the year, and also have access to a range of leave options including long service leave at full or half pay where they are eligible. 

For more information on our Flexible Work Policy, head to our UNSW Governance website.

University Holidays

The University generally closes operations over the Christmas/New Year holiday for a specified period reviewed each year. The 3 working days between Christmas and New Year are granted to staff at the discretion of UNSW as ‘University Holidays’ with pay.

Family & Parental Leave

UNSW's commitment to supporting staff with family and parenting responsibilities shines through our generous leave scheme.

There are a number of entitlements for staff to access. including: 

  • Primary carer leave of 26 weeks full pay (less than five years service), and 36 weeks full pay (over 5 years service)  
  • Support to return back on transitional or part-time arrangements  
  • 2 weeks partner/grandparent leave 
  • Varying levels of adoption & foster parent leave

Family Facilities

Our UNSW Campuses offer parent-friendly spaces for all staff and postgraduate students with children and is an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly workplace.  
Parents' rooms on Kensington campus: 

  • Upper campus - Biological Sciences parent's room, G003, Ground Floor (Map Ref E26) 
  • Middle campus - Room 1Q09, Level 1, Ainsworth Building (Map Ref J17) 
  • Lower campus - Basement, Room B40, Science and Engineering Building (Map Ref E8) 
  • Parents’ rooms on ADFA Canberra campus: 
  • A parents' room is located on the top floor of the Academy Library (Map Ref 13) | Learn More 
  • A parent-friendly space is also available on Level 2 of the Administration Building 

In addition, our staff and student families have priority access to our on and near campus SDN Child Care Centres including discounted fees, and the option to salary sacrifice fees. Further information can be found on the SDN website

Sick Leave  

Your health and wellbeing are paramount. We provide increasing sick leave entitlements the longer you work at UNSW.

Carer's Leave 

This benefit allows you to use your sick leave for the purposes of caring for an immediate family member, and your limits increase over time with the ability to draw down on unused leave from previous years.

Purchase Additional Leave

UNSW staff can buy themselves additional annual leave (up to 10 weeks per annum) which can be slowly paid off over the course of the year through an equivalent reduction in your fortnightly salary.   

Study and Examination Leave

Professional staff can request study leave if it has direct relevance to their position. For each hour of class contact, staff can take half an hour of study leave for a maximum of 4 hours per week, and time off may be granted for exams.

Further Support

We also have varying levels of support in place to enable our staff to take care of things in their personal life whilst working at UNSW. Further options include Gender Transition Leave, Domestic Violence Leave, Special Leave (for unexpected circumstances such as bushfires and pandemics) and Cultural and Religious Leave.