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Human Resources


Working hours

Normally assistant staff are required to work 36.5 hours each week unless part time working has been agreed. Normal working hours for assistant staff are between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. 

Flexible working guidelines

The Department follows the University's flexible working policy (flexi-time) for all clerical, secretarial and technical staff, with the exception of staff appointed to posts with fixed hours.  If you would like to change your existing working pattern please read the departmental guidelines on using flexi-time, which explain how flexi-time works and how to apply.

Tea breaks

The University of Cambridge policy states that tea or cigarette breaks should not add up to more than two hours per week in total for those working full time.  Our arrangements are more flexible, but please be reasonable and limit your tea breaks to 15-20 minutes.  If you smoke at work, cigarette breaks must be taken during or instead of your tea break and if you have more than one cigarette break in the morning and one in the afternoon, all cigarette breaks and tea breaks together must be limited to 40 minutes in total per day (pro rata’d where required).


Annual Leave

For Assistant staff, holiday entitlement runs from January to December. If you start work after the beginning of the leave year your entitlement for that year will be calculated pro rata to the proportion of the leave year remaining.

Holiday entitlement for full time assistant staff is 36 days annually including 8 public holidays, pro rata’d for part time staff. You are entitled to additional long-service leave of one day after nine years of unbroken service and subsequently one additional day for each period of three years of unbroken service up to a maximum of four days after eighteen years of service. A maximum of three days can be carried over and must be used within three months of the new year. 

The Department normally closes over the Christmas and Easter periods and details are set out on your leave sheet with the required holiday deducted from your leave at the beginning of each year. Although annual leave entitlement for assistant staff includes bank holidays, assistant staff are normally required to book these days and the preference is that assistant staff take public holidays off outside term time.

On occasion leave may not be granted if it does not meet the Department’s needs. During the busy summer holiday period, technical and secretarial staff ensure that there is adequate cover in order that the Department can remain open and fully functional.

You must request and agree all holidays in advance with your manager and your leave sheet should be passed to the Personnel Administration Office.

If you have leave owing to you at the end of your employment you will be entitled to receive payment in lieu of the untaken leave. Similarly a deduction will be taken from your final salary payment if you have already taken more leave than entitled to.

Public and Bank Holidays

The days of public and bank holidays in England and Wales are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day
  • Spring Bank Holiday
  • Late Summer Bank Holiday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

With the exception of the public holidays around Easter and Christmas, the Department is open every public holiday as a normal working day.

If you are asked by your line manager to work on a public holiday you will be compensated in accordance with the rules set out in the online assistant staff handbook.

Staff review and development for Assistant staff

The Department’s Appraisal (Staff Review and Development) Scheme sets out the framework for appraisal of all assistant staff.


Staff Review and Development ensures that you are clear about your responsibilities and have a formal regular opportunity to discuss any help you may need in meeting them. Appraisals should improve work effectiveness and facilitate career development by encouraging staff to discuss their achievements, address challenges, set targets and consider their training and personal development requirements.

The appraisal is not a replacement for good management practice, a disciplinary tool nor a means of determining pay.


The Department’s appraisal scheme is intended to provide staff with an opportunity for a constructive review of their current achievements, future work and their personal and career development.   The appraisal will comprise a meeting between appraiser and appraisee.  Both are expected to prepare for the meeting by giving some thought to the issues to be addressed and then to agree a brief written record of the outcomes.

The discussion and the record of the review are confidential to the appraisee, appraiser, Support Services Manager and Head of Department.  The review will not be used for any other purpose unless, by mutual agreement an issue raised at the appraisal is to be taken up with others such as details of formal training needs that may be sent to the institution's staff development liaison officer.  A copy of the review documents should be given to the member of staff. The original copies of any Staff Review forms should be stored securely in the Department in your personnel file.   

The reviewer and member of staff can use any action plan drawn up or Personal Development Plan (PD26) to monitor progress and as a reminder of the member of staff's planned training and development activity during the intervening period before the next review.


Appraisals will be offered to all support staff, throughout their appointment.


Appraisals should be conducted 12 months after appointment and thereafter at least every 2 years.  The normal schedule will be for appraisals to be held during the period March to May.  Biennially the Admin Team meeting will review the operation of the scheme and consider any general issues raised by appraisers/ees.

By whom?

Support staff appraisals will normally be conducted by the line manager. The assistant staff scheme will be coordinated by the Support Services Manager who will ensure training is available to appraisers and appraisees and archive the records.

Supporting documents: