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Benefits for employees

The University offers employees a wide range of competitive benefits. The CAMbens Employee Benefits pages outline the full range of benefits currently available, but please make sure you visit the site regularly to check for new additions. 

In general, the benefits listed are available to all employees who have a contract of employment with the University and who are listed on the University payroll. Some of the salary sacrifice schemes have more specific eligibility criteria and contract research staff may need to confirm certain benefits with their grant sponsors.

University employee benefits generally fall under the following categories and you are encouraged to access the most up to date information by visiting the CAMbens Employee Benefits pages: 

  • Careers benefits
  • Family friendly benefits – for example, childcare, family friendly leave, flexible working. 
  • Financial benefits – for example, CAMbens savings account, University pension schemes
  • Health benefits – for example, health care cash plans, health shield, BUPA private healthcare, Occupational Health Service. 
  • Local discounts benefits - for example, eating out. 
  • Recreation benefits - for example, dining, sports and leisure, University attractions
  • Relocation benefits - for example, the Accommodation Service, the Newcomers and Visiting Scholars group. 
  • Training and development benefits – for example, PPD, the Language Centre, the University Computing Service. 
  • Travel benefits - for example, CAMbens Cycle, Cycle Shop Discounts, CAMbens Cars, Zipcar, Travel to work loans, public transport discounts. 
  • Wellbeing benefits - for example, Occupational Health Service, Staff Counselling Service.

Changes in personal circumstances

In order that we hold correct contact details records it is essential that you inform your line manager, the Department and University of any changes to:

  • Your address and home or mobile telephone number(s) 
  • Your name 
  • Your next of kin
  • Your bank account details

Please keep your personal details up to date in both the:

 University’s Employee Self-Service system.

 ‘Self-service interface.

To change your name or bank account details or if you have any queries, please contact the Personnel Administration Office. 


Communication and your manager

Perhaps the most important means of communication are the informal face-to-face discussions that occur each day about your job, the Department and your benefits. Your prime source of information is your line manager. It is part of their job to keep you informed, to answer questions and to listen to constructive opinions, comments and suggestions.

Continued Professional Development

Staff review & development - Staff review and development (SRD) is an essential part of the University’s commitment to developing staff and to delivering a high quality service, providing a way of balancing your personal needs and ambitions with the University’s overall objectives. 

The review process should enhance 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. it should ensure that members of staff are clear about their responsibilities and that they have a formal regular opportunity to discuss any help they may need in meeting them. 

Your reviewer is normally your line manager/supervisor. This process does not replace good management practice, nor is it used as a disciplinary tool or a means of determining pay. For contract research staff, your first review will be conducted 12 months after your appointment and thereafter annually.  

Information about the Department’s Research staff SRD process is available online.  

The University’s Staff Review and Development Scheme provides further guidance and is a useful source of information. 

For queries regarding SRD, you should speak with your line manager or contact Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager or Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser. 

Learning and development opportunities - You are encouraged to take an active approach to your continued development, identifying and accessing personal and professional development opportunities in conjunction with the requirements of your role, your line manager and your own career aspirations.  

The University Training Booking System provides a central point for staff and students of the University and its Colleges to search for and book onto a variety of training courses run by participating University training providers. 

Below is further information about the main University training providers: 

University Information Services (UIS) – The UIS exists to help you get the most out of your computing. Facilities are free and available to all staff, provided your computer use is connected with University work. The UIS also provides a wide range of training courses for all categories of staff.

Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) – The ICE offers a wide ranging and flexible programme of part-time courses to everyone over the age of eighteen, whether they are looking to develop or change their career, or just increase their level of knowledge on a particular subject.

Personal and Professional Development (PPD) - PPD facilitates learning opportunities for all university staff enabling them to achieve their potential and contribute to the provision of excellent teaching and research in the University. Their purpose is to support you in the professional and personal development of your skills, attitudes and knowledge in the areas of teaching, research, support services, management and leadership development, to help you achieve University objectives and departmental priorities

Researcher Development Programme - PPD has developed Researcher Development programmes specifically for research staff and students. The programmes include training in teaching, as well as managing research projects, writing and developing personal strengths in communicating and working with others, amongst others.

University Language Centre – The Language Centre offers members of staff language-learning and teaching services if their work requires them. 

Lectures and Seminars - Staff and students may attend any of the University lectures and seminars organised by various internal institutions. 

Concordat to support the career development of researchers - The Concordat is a statement of principles for the support and management of researchers' careers issued by Universities UK, the Research Councils, and other major research sponsors. It covers the responsibilities of research staff, your managers, employers, and funders. 

Employment and Career Management Scheme for Researchers - The Employment and Career Management Scheme for Researchers draws on the framework of the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. It sets out clear, fundamental standards and has been designed to be adaptable to the needs of researchers, principal investigators, supervisors of researchers, and departments, faculties, institutes and centres.

The Scheme describes full policy but shorter reference resources are available which may be sufficient information for your immediate purposes, including a career management tool which provides a practical guide for researchers to managing careers. 

University Careers Service - The University has a dedicated careers advice service for post-docs and research staff covering academic, industry and other career options. Regular appointments are offered for career guidance discussions, application feedback and mock interviews as well as hosting and organising a range of events and workshop. 

You are also encouraged to register with the post-doc careers advice service to receive information and updates that would be relevant to you and your career progression. 

Job Opportunities - Job vacancies are advertised on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. In addition, some posts are advertised in the Cambridge University Reporter (the official journal of the University of Cambridge), the local and national press, specialist publications and job sites.

Consultancy Opportunities - Any member of University staff may undertake consultancy through Cambridge Enterprise, including academic, academic-related and assistant staff, as well as PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

Intellectual Property Rights - The University has a policy on the ownership of intellectual property which includes a generous revenue share for inventors. Further information is available from University of Cambridge Enterprise.

Promotion - Promotion is the appointment of existing members of staff to another post or office at a higher grade than the one previously held. This may be the result of either a successful application for an advertised vacancy, or, where appropriate, personal promotion.

When a member of University staff is promoted to a higher grade, the salary will increase by either two additional increments or will become the first service point on the new grade, whichever is the greater. The maximum possible scale point on promotion is the highest point on the scale below the discretionary points, that is, discretionary points on scales are not available on promotion.

For contract research staff, promotion within the scope of an existing research project requires a recommendation, supported by the research sponsor and head of institution, that the responsibilities undertaken by the member of staff matches the generic role profile for the higher grade. Promotion to Senior Research Associate requires approval by the relevant Faculty Board.

In cases where promotion is sought to higher grades, evidence is needed of achievement equivalent to the research/scholarship criteria used to consider applications for promotion to the equivalent grades of Reader (Principal Research Associate) or Professor (Director of Research).

Contract of employment

Shortly after commencing employment with the Department you will receive your Contract of Employment.

Cyber security

UIS has launched a new cyber security awareness course to help staff keep themselves and their data safe from cyber attacks. This training is now part of the induction process for new joiners, but all staff are encouraged to complete the 15-minute course to refresh their knowledge and increase their confidence in dealing with new threats. Further details are available on the IT Help and Support site

Dignity at work

The University of Cambridge is committed to protecting the dignity of staff, students, visitors to the University, and all members of the University community, in their work and their interactions with others. The University expects all members of the University community to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times. All members of the University community have the right to expect professional behaviour from others, and a corresponding responsibility to behave professionally towards others.

The Dignity@Work policy explains this commitment and what action can be taken if its principles are not observed. Any instances that arise relating to all unlawful forms of discrimination and unacceptable behaviour – such as racial, sexual and disability harassment, as well as bullying – should be reported, in confidence, to your Supervisor, or line manager or to Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager or Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser. The matter will be investigated thoroughly and without delay according to the approved procedures.

Key Chemistry Department contacts: Marita WalshNick BamposKathleen Pickett or your direct line manager for routine enquiries or advice. Approaches about personal or sensitive matters will be dealt with discreetly and where possible in confidence.

If you experience or observe a problem over harassment or bullying (whether you feel you are the subject of such behaviour, are accused of it, or are a witness to it) there are also Sources of Support available. If it is felt that your health is suffering, you may be encouraged to approach the Occupational Health Service and/or the Staff Counselling Service.

Equality and Diversity

The University of Cambridge is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity. 

Subject to statutory provisions, no student, member of staff, applicant for admission as a student, or applicant for appointment as a member of staff will be treated less favourably than another because of her or his belonging to a protected group. This commitment applies to a former student, alumnus or alumna, or former employee where the alleged unlawful conduct arises out of and is closely connected to the former student's or former staff member's previous relationship with the University.

Protected groups are defined in the Equality Act 2010 as Sex, Gender Reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Pregnancy or Maternity, Race (including Ethnic or National Origin, Nationality or Colour), Disability, Sexual Orientation, Age, or Religion or Belief. The University respects all religious and philosophical beliefs, as well as the lack of religion or belief, and the right of all members of its community to discuss and debate these issues freely. See here for the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy

As a result of the Department’s commitment to Equal Opportunities, all members of staff are required to complete the Equality and Diversity Essentials online training.

Key Chemistry Department contacts: Marita WalshNick BamposKathleen Pickett or your direct line manager for routine enquiries or advice.  Approaches about personal or sensitive matters will be dealt with discreetly and where possible in confidence.

The University's Equality and Diversity pages have a wealth of information including E&D@CambridgeRace Equality at Cambridge, E&D Events and details of Diversity Networks.

First day

On arrival at the Department, please report to Reception and ask for a member of the Personnel Administration Team to complete your Right to Work in the UK check if this has not already been completed digitally.

The Right to Work in the UK check is a legal requirement and will include any other paperwork necessary for you to start work such as confirmation of your new local address. Once this check is confirmed, the Personnel Administration Team will arrange for you to be collected by your group secretary, PI or nominated other. 

If your Right to Work in the UK check is completed prior to your first day, simply ask for your group secretary, PI or nominated other on arrival. 

See 'Registration' on this menu for details.

Grievances, capability and disciplinary matters

For contract research staff, detailed information on the University's policies and procedures relating to disciplinary action, grievances and appeals is available on the Human Resources website.

Grievances - If you feel you are being treated unfairly, first talk to your local administrator or Head of Department to see if the problem can be resolved informally. If the problem persists or is very serious, you make wish to make a formal complaint to your Head of Department. If your grievance is directed against the Head of your Department, you may complain to a more senior officer. You should record instances of the problem as they occur, so that you have documentary evidence to show to the appropriate person.

Bullying and harassment - If you feel that you have been a victim of bullying or harassment, or are accused of such behaviour, the University has specific guidance on how this is dealt with through the Dignity@Work policy: see section 5e) and 5f) above. 

Disciplinary - The University's aim is to encourage improvement in individual conduct or behaviour where this falls short of required standards. The disciplinary procedure sets out the action to take when the conduct of a member of staff is unsatisfactory.

The types of conduct which may lead to disciplinary action being taken according to the procedures include:

  • Wilful failure to perform the duties of the post
  • Refusal to comply with reasonable requests from the job supervisor
  • Persistent unsatisfactory timekeeping
  • Unauthorised absence from work
  • Incapacity to perform the duties of the post effectively due to drunkenness or unauthorised drug-taking
  • Acts of discrimination against any member of the University community on the grounds of sex (including gender reassignment), marital or parental status, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or age
  • Bullying or harassment of any member of the University community
  • Malicious accusations of bullying or harassment against another person
  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Breach of University or departmental safety regulations or rules
  • Breach of other University or departmental regulations or rules
  • Breach of any other conditions of employment.
  • Specific guidance is available on the UIS website as to acceptable use of computer facilities, email and the internet as abuse of these can lead to disciplinary action. 

Capability policy - The separate capability procedure should be initiated for a reason related to his/her performance or capability for performing work of the kind which the member of staff concerned is employed to do:  The term ‘capability’ means capability assessed by reference to skill, aptitude, health, or any other physical or mental quality. Advice should be sought from the HR Division if it is unclear which procedure is appropriate.

Misconduct in research - Allegations of misconduct in research are rare but the University takes them very seriously. Proven misconduct in research is regarded as serious or gross misconduct or, in the case of officers, as good cause for disciplinary action under Statute U, I, 5 (a) - (c), and will normally merit dismissal. The University is committed to ensuring that allegations of misconduct in research are investigated with all possible thoroughness and vigour.

Hours of work

Your hours of work should be agreed between yourself and your supervisor, Principal Investigator or line manager. If you are appointed to work part-time your total hours of work will correspond with the percentage of salary payable. 

As a guide, the General Board expects the average full-time working week to be in the region of 37 to 40 hours. Under the Working Time Regulations, 1998, you are not required to work more than 48 hours per week unless you sign an agreement to do so.

Flexible Working 

The University's Flexible Working Policy sets out the procedure to be followed when staff ask to work flexibly to achieve a better work/life balance.

Staff wanting to request a change to their existing working pattern permanently should read this policy and discuss their proposal with their immediate supervisor, Marita Walsh (Support Services Manager) or Kathleen Pickett (Welfare, Training and Development Adviser) before applying.

Permanent changes should be requested using the FLEXAF form.

Temporary changes should be requested by letter.

All requests for changes should be submitted to Marita Walsh or Kathleen Pickett.

Established Officers are required to complete form CHRIS/74 to temporarily work flexibly.

International Working

The University's International Working policy and Guidance is in place in order to ensure employees are able to carry out International Working without detriment to their health and safety or breach of legislation.

The Policy is intended to sit alongside the University’s Hybrid Working Policy (and the Flexible working policy, when applicable) and many of the expectations set out in the Hybrid Working policy, such as those concerning the remote working environment and performance will continue apply to arrangements outside the UK.



We recognise that it is important that the foundations for good working practices are established at the outset of your appointment. The person most familiar with the requirements of your job, typically your line manager, will usually be responsible for your induction, monitoring your performance, providing guidance on a day-to-day basis, and arranging for any necessary training.

Your induction programme is designed so that you can fit in quickly and effectively. You will meet new colleagues and be given details of the main responsibilities of your post, sources of immediate help and support, and the terms and conditions of your employment. These include relevant policies and procedures, and health, safety and welfare matters.

Additionally, you are encouraged to join the University’s Online Staff Induction course which complements the induction you will receive from within the Department and to attend the University’s Welcome Talk which runs termly. 

All contract research staff and research visitors are invited to a monthly departmental welcome talk. The welcome talk includes: 

  • A brief introduction about the University’s libraries from the Department’s Senior Librarian. 
  • A short presentation about the University’s Postdoc Careers Services from a Postdoc Careers Adviser for the School of Physical Sciences. 
  • An outline of contractual, policy, procedural and general departmental and University Information from the Department’s Welfare, Training and Development Adviser
  • Outline of information on grant management, financial regulations and purchasing, preferred suppliers, account codes and travel insurance from the Department’s Academic Secretary. 


All completed forms, other than annual leave, should be returned to Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager or Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser

Annual Leave 

For contract research staff, holiday entitlement runs from October to September. If staff start work after the beginning of the leave year, entitlement for that year will be calculated pro rata to the proportion of the leave year remaining.

Holiday entitlement for full time contract research staff is 41 days. Part time staff are entitled to 41 days pro rata based on the numbers of days worked per week. Periods of University closure, other than public holidays will be taken as part of the annual leave. The remaining leave is taken at times that suit both the individual and his or her area.

You are required to keep a record of your annual leave on a Leave record ChartA maximum of five days can be carried over and must be used within three months of the new year. There is no entitlement to receive pay in lieu of holiday not taken.

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 required to work on a Public Holiday you are entitled to a corresponding period of time off in lieu.

Leave for personal or family reasons

Sick leave - the Sickness Absence policy is available online.

A day of sickness is defined as a day or part of a day on which you are incapable of your normal work because of a specific illness, disease, or disability. This term covers injury at work, and precautionary reasons as advised by a doctor e.g. convalescence, contact with infectious diseases. It does not, however, cover time off work because you have to care for a member of your family. 

Sickness absence procedure - All staff must report incapacity for work. 

If you are unfit for work due to illness, please contact your line manager by phone or email on the first day of your absence and email letting them know the following as set out in the Sickness Absence Policy:

  • The nature of the illness or injury;
  • The expected approximate length of absence from work;
  • Contact details;
  • Whether the absence may be due to an injury at work or otherwise perceived to be related to work; and
  • Any outstanding or urgent work that requires attention.

If you cannot reach your line manager or would prefer, you can email to report your sickness absence providing the details as above. If you are unable to contact the department due to your illness, you should make alternative arrangements e.g ask a family member to call on your behalf.

If you are off sick for longer than you communicated to your line manager and/or the sickness reporting email  you must either contact your line manager and/or the sickness reporting email on the day you were expected to return to work.   If you are unsure when you will return to work you must make contact daily until such times you know how long you are likely to be absent from work for i.e. you have a medical certificate, or you return to work.   

If you are declared unfit to work by way of a medical certificate, please advise on the first day you are signed off, and forward your certificate asap to the sickness reporting email. Please remember, a medical certificate obtained either from your GP or a hospital is required for any sickness absences longer than 7 calendar days (including weekends).  

Please complete a CHRIS62 form for all absence durations and send it to the sickness reporting email, even if you have supplied a medical certificate.  CHRIS62’s are available online on the HR site or can be requested using the sickness reporting email

The University's Sickness policy can provide further information.

Rates of pay during absence due to sickness

If you are absent from work on account of sickness you will normally receive a payment in lieu of salary, which is equal to your normal salary, for a period which depends on your length of service (see below).

For contract research staff, the rates of pay during absence due to sickness are: 

Employed since 1 January 2004 and subject to agreement of sponsor

Period of unbroken service

Sick leave with pay

At a rate equal to normal pay

At a rate equal to half normal pay

Less than 1 year

8 weeks

8 weeks

1 or more years but less than 3 years

12 weeks

12 weeks

3 or more years but less than 5 years

20 weeks

20 weeks

5 or more years

26 weeks

26 weeks

Employed before 1 January 2004 and subject to agreement of sponsor

Period of unbroken service

Sick leave with pay

Less than 1 year

Month 1


Months 2–4


Month 5–8


1 or more years

Months 1–6


Months 6–12

100%, subject to review

Months 12–14


Months 15–18

50%, subject to review

If you are absent through sickness at the date at which your entitlement to payment would increase, you will not gain the new entitlement until you have returned to work and have worked for a continuous period of one month.

The rate and period for which payment may be made is calculated according to the sick leave which you have taken during the 365 days before the first day of sickness. This means that any sick leave taken during that time will count as part of your sick leave entitlement for the current period of sickness.

If you are frequently absent through sickness or have a single prolonged absence, you may be referred to the University's Occupational Health Service for a medical opinion. You may also be asked to authorise the Director of Human Resources to approach your own doctor for further information about your health. Your Head of Department may also ask you to produce a doctor's statement for all absences however short if there is concern about your level of sickness absence.

Attending Medical Appointments

Attending routine medical appointments is not normally regarded as sickness absence. Members of staff should consult their line manager where such attendance would entail taking time off work.

Maternity Leave

Staff seeking maternity leave are advised to follow the guidance set out in the University’s Maternity Policy.

Regardless of your length of service, an expectant mother may apply for a maximum of 52 weeks maternity leave. This period consists of 18 weeks' paid leave, then 21 weeks’ Statutory Maternity Pay, if eligible, followed by up to 13 weeks' unpaid leave. 

Notification of intention to take maternity leave - An employee should give notice of her intention to take maternity leave, and the intended start date, by the 15th week before her expected week of childbirth (using form CHRIS/60), unless this is not reasonably practicable, in which case she should give as much notice as is reasonably practicable. When submitting the CHRIS/60 form the applicant should attach a formal certificate from a doctor or midwife stating the expected week of childbirth (form Mat B1).

Notification of return to work from maternity leave - If an employee intends to return to work at the end of her full 52 week maternity leave period she is not required to give notice of her return. However, if an employee wants to extend her maternity leave, return earlier than a date previously specified or is planning not to return, she is required to give 8 weeks’ notice of this intention using form CHRIS/61.

Risk Assessment for Expectant and Nursing Mothers - Particular attention needs to be given to assessing any work-related risks to health issues during pregnancy. A Risk Assessment for Expectant and Nursing Mothers should be undertaken as soon as possible to ensure that working conditions are acceptable. For this reason, it is important to let your supervisor/line manager know as early as possible. If you would prefer to speak with someone other your line manager regarding the pregnancy risk assessment, please contact:

  • Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser
  • Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager
  • Occupational Health Service

All maternity related forms should be returned to: 

Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser 

or Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager

Paternity Leave

Staff seeking paternity leave are advised to follow the guidance set out in the University’s Paternity Policy

Employees who apply for ordinary paternity leave and meet the University criteria (i.e. that satisfactory arrangements can be made to cover for the absence at no extra cost to the University) will receive up to 2 weeks leave at full pay.

Notification of intention to take paternity leave - An employee must provide notification, using Form CHRIS/65,no later than the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth or within 7 days of the date the adoption agency tell the person adopting the child they have been matched with the child.

Completed paternity forms should be returned to: 

Kathleen Pickett, Welfare, Training and Development Adviser 

or Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager

Ordinary Parental Leave

Staff seeking parental leave are advised to follow the guidance set out in the University’s Ordinary Parental Leave Policy.

Notification of parental leave - The member of staff should give notice, using CHRIS/66 form  at least 21 days' before the requested date of leave.

Shared Parental Leave - staff seeking shared parental leave are advised to follow the guidance in the Shared Parental Leave policy. For further departmental advice please contact Kathleen Pickett.

Adoption leave - Staff seeking adoption leave are advised to follow the guidance set out in the University’s Adoption Leave Policy.

Notification of adoption leave - An employee must give notice of his/her intention to take adoption leave within 7 days of being notified by their adoption agency that they have been matched with a child for adoption, unless this is not reasonably practicable. This notice, using CHRIS/64 form should state when the child is expected to be placed and when the adopter wants their adoption leave to start. A 'matching certificate' which will be provided by the adoption agency should be submitted. 

Special Leave

The University recognises that there may be occasions when employees need to take time off work for reasons that do not necessarily fall under normal leave provisions. A range of special leave options are summarised below. For further details please consult the University’s Special Leave policy.



Conditions and documentation

Compassionate leave

The existing compassionate leave provisions under the Assistant Staff Rules, Assistant Staff Handbook, Staff Guide and Summary of Leave Table will apply. 

Compassionate leave covers bereavement or serious illness of a close family member or dependant. It is granted according to the circumstances. 

Emergency leave

Normally up to 2 days unpaid leave on each occasion. May be combined with compassionate leave/annual leave as appropriate.

Emergency leave covers genuine unforeseen emergences for reasons connected with dependants or unexpected domestic or other emergencies. It is granted according to the circumstances. 

Essential civic and public duties

The University will grant reasonable unpaid time off to those employees who hold public positions as set out under s.50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. Documentation from the relevant official body will be required in support of the application.

Service in the Reserve Forces

Reservists required to undertake training on a normal working day will be required to take annual leave or may request unpaid leave.

Where the employee is called up this will be treated as unpaid leave. The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. Documentation from the relevant official body will be required in support of the application.

Jury Service

The University will ‘top up’ any sums reimbursed to the level of the employee's normal salary.

The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. The jury summons should be provided in support of the application. A receipt of reimbursement must also be provided within 3 months, where applicable.

Attendance in court as a witness

If summonsed to appear as a witness in a private capacity, the employee may request annual leave or unpaid leave.

Annual leave should be requested in the normal way or the employee should complete form CHRIS/68 to request unpaid leave. The witness summons should be provided where applicable.

Fertility treatment

Up to 5 days paid leave in a 12 month period for female employees undergoing fertility treatment, or up to 2 days paid leave to provide support to a partner who is undergoing fertility treatment.

Individuals who are following a course of fertility treatment and have been employed by the University for one continuous year are eligible to apply. The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. Confirmation of treatment will be required at the point of application.

Surgery/procedures and elective surgery

Time off for surgery or treatment and recuperation that relates to a medical or psychological condition and is supported by a medical certificate, will be treated as sick leave in the same manner as any other medical appointment.

In cases of elective surgery, treatment and recuperation (i.e. cosmetic and/or surgery not medically necessary), annual leave should be taken in the first instance or unpaid leave if appropriate and in agreement with the institution concerned.

The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. Medical certification may be required as set out in policy.

Gender reassignment

Requests for time off for medical treatment relating to gender reassignment will be managed and recorded in accordance with the University Ill-Health and Sickness Absence procedures, ie treated as time off for illness or other medical appointments.

Reasonable requests for time off for non-medical treatment will be considered subject to operational requirements. Normally annual leave or unpaid leave will be considered for these purposes.

The employee should complete form CHRIS/68. Medical certification may be required as set out in policy.

Religious or belief-related obligations

Employees may use their annual leave entitlement to request time off for religious or belief-related purposes.

Annual leave should be requested in the normal way.

Voluntary work

Annual leave entitlement must be used for the days that the employee will be absent from work. Unpaid leave may be granted under exceptional circumstances.

Annual leave should be requested in the normal way. For exceptional circumstances requests for unpaid leave to undertake voluntary work should be submitted by completing form CHRIS/68. Documentation from the relevant organisation will be required in support of the application.

Maternity Support

Maternity support 

Returning from maternity leave

  • Employees returning from maternity leave are asked to complete a Chris/61 form and return this to Kathleen Pickett giving 8 weeks' notice of their return.
  • All returning mothers should complete a further 'Risk Assessment for New and Expectant Parents at Work' and completed forms should be returned to the Department Safety team.
  • The Departmental first aid room, located in the BMS foyer, is available for breastfeeding and to express and store milk. Please contact Kathleen Pickett or Reception to request access. Baby changing facilities are available in the ground floor disabled toilet.
  • Families@chem details additional departmental family friendly support.

Living in Cambridge

The City has lots to offer as a place to live. The following information may be of use to you if you are new to the area. 

10 things I wish I’d know when I came to Cambridge


It is University policy to ‘facilitate personal and professional development enabling individuals and groups to achieve their full potential’. Mentoring is a dynamic way to facilitating such development and is a means of providing structured support to a member of staff in the early stages of a new appointment. It is particularly relevant for members of staff in academic-related and contract research posts. 

The Department of Chemistry has a Mentoring Scheme for contract research staff and research visitors. The scheme has been devised in collaboration with the Department's Post-Doc Affairs Committee (PDAC), and is fully supported by the Head of Department and Athena SWAN working group.

Under the scheme, a ‘pool’ of academic and senior staff mentors have volunteered to mentor research staff across a range of work-related topics and issues including:

  • help with research-related issues: project management/time management
  • help with other work-related issues: people management/conflict resolution
  • career development and progression: values, aspirations, training
  • routes to academic and/or industry careers
  • work-life balance (including “women in science” and related issues)
  • provide motivation, confidence and inspiration 
  • Mentors can also specify other work-related areas where they can help. 

Researchers can view profiles of the volunteer mentors and contact the person they feel is most appropriate to support their needs. 

The revised scheme is not intended to replace any successful mentoring relationships in the earlier system where a PI recommends a suitable mentor. These should continue and research staff can continue to seek a mentor/mentoring advice through their PI.


The University operates in a largely decentralized manner and there are many opportunities for networking, both formally and informally. You are encouraged to develop as many professional and social contacts as you can throughout the University and the Colleges. 

College Affiliation – Affiliating with a college during your time in Cambridge offers a number of benefits including access to interdepartmental contacts, college facilities and opportunities for social and professional interaction. In particular, PdOC provides specific college affiliation information, including college-affiliation opportunities and the different types of post-doctoral college affiliations. 

Your PI or superviser, the University’s Post-Doc Careers Service and PdOC (see below) may be able to help with college affiliation queries. 

Diversity Networks - The University’s diversity plays a key role in sustaining academic excellence and a number of diversity networks exist to progress equality: 

Diversity networks are open to individuals who work for the University, a College or an associated institution and are members of one of the above protected groups. Other Diversity Networks include:

The Judge Business School and the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) - Entrepreneurial Networks - The importance of networks for recruiting talented colleagues, securing funding and acquiring industry knowledge cannot be underestimated. In the heart of the Silicon Fen, Cambridge is at the centre of many entrepreneurial networks. 

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA) - OPdA is the leading organisation dealing with issues relating to the postdoctoral community at the University of Cambridge. The OPdA provides an academic, administrative and pastoral focus for the community. You are encouraged to visit the OPdA website to access a diverse range of information relating to why choose Cambridge, being new to Cambridge and in making the most of your time at Cambridge.

The Centre offers a range of helpful information and support to postdocs, their partners and families e.g. help with moving to Cambridge, settling in, HR and immigration matters, mentoring, careers, additional training and information on joining departmental postdoc committees, the PdOC Society and our partner volunteer scheme.

Post-Docs of Cambridge (PdOC) - PdOC is the Cambridge University Society for postdoctoral research staff and junior research fellows. PdOC represents postdocs in career development, contract research conditions, college affiliation, and social and sporting issues. All Cambridge postdocs are welcome to join, and there is no membership fee.

WiSETI (Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Initiative) - WiSETI is a positive action initiative at the University of Cambridge that promotes and supports women from Undergraduate level to Professor, in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) subject areas. WiSETI was established in 1999 and aims to redress an under-representation of women in employment and career progression in these disciplines at the University of Cambridge.

Outside interest

If you wish to take on part-time employment outside working hours you should discuss this with your line manager.

Private consultancy

If you are working in a private capacity, or acting as a consultant, you do so at your own risk, as such work is not covered by the University's insurances. You are strongly advised to take out personal insurance. However, professional indemnity cover may be obtained by channelling private work through the University's insurance company, Cambridge University Technical Services (CUTS) Ltd. For more advice, contact Cambridge Enterprise.

The University does not expect to be informed about remuneration from private work and consultancy. Such work, however, must not interfere with the performance of the duties of your office or post. If you are in any doubt about this, you should consult your Head of institution. If you undertake any work in a private capacity or act as a consultant, you should be clear that you undertake such work at your own risk, and that the University must not be involved in any such arrangements. University letterheads or other facilities must not be used.

Pay and salary progression


Payment of salaries for all staff is monthly and in arrears on the 26th of each month or the Friday before it if the 26this a non-working day.  Exceptions may occur during the Christmas and Easter months. 

Pay scales

Each post is assigned to a specific grade, within the grading structure 1–12. Each grade contains a number of salary points, some of which are service-related, with others designated ‘contribution points’. 

Appointment is at a specific salary point in the range for the grade of post and your letter of appointment and contract tell you where your salary falls on that scale. 

The University reserves the right to withhold payment of salary for any days when you are absent from work without permission or medical certification.

Details of the grading structure and single salary spine are published in the HR section of the University’s website.

Annual pay review

The annual pay review date for all staff is 1 August. The salary spine is then adjusted to take account of nationally agreed pay settlements.

Salary progression within grades

Progression through the service related points on each grade will normally be by automatic annual progression, with the possibility in most grades of accelerated incremental progression in recognition of outstanding and sustained contribution. Progression to and through these ‘contribution points’ will not be automatic and will be based on assessment of the contribution of individuals in their roles. 

Service-related Increments - Incremental progression through the service-related points in grades 1 to 10 occurs on the incremental date. 

For Academic, Academic-related and Research staff this is the anniversary of appointment. 

Contribution Increments – Additional increments and discretionary payments are awarded where an employee's performance is considered to be at an outstanding level, over and above the level normally required for the grade, and this performance has been maintained over a long period of time. In considering recommendations, the criteria include: outstanding performance, the specialist nature of the work undertaken, the rarity value of skill involved, the output of work achieved, and any other factors which may make the award appropriate.

Most salary scales contain discretionary points which are marked with an asterisk on the published scales. You will not move automatically to these points. If you are at the top of the normal scale you may be considered for progression to a discretionary point in recognition of exceptional performance in the post. If you are not at the top of the normal scale you may be considered for an award of an additional increment in recognition of exceptional performance in the post. Heads of Institution make recommendations for contribution payments and additional increments to Awarding committees.

An annual increment may be withheld, or a discretionary payment or additional increment withdrawn, if an assistant is subject to a disciplinary procedure because of his or her performance or conduct.

Contribution Reward Schemes - To recognise outstanding and sustained performance, the following contribution reward schemes are available: 

  • Contract research staff - Research Assistants, Associates and Senior Research Associates are appointed to grades 5, 7 and 9 respectively and are eligible for discretionary awards under the scheme for research staff. Requests are considered termly

Additional pay 

If you carry out any work that falls outside the scope of your normal responsibilities and duties, you may be eligible to receive an additional payment. Details are set out in the regulations on Stipends in Statutes and Ordinances.

Photo ID cards

Your University Photo ID Card will be available from the Department's Personnel Administration Office 7-10 days after your start date. Once you have completed the registration process, Reception will issue you with a temporary pass, please be sure to return it when you have received your University Photo ID card. 

Your Photo ID Card is authorised to you and must not be shared with others.

Your University Photo ID Card will entitle you to use other University services, provide access to some other University buildings and the Reward and Benefits scheme.

Your University Photo ID Card must be returned to Reception or the Department’s Personnel Administration Office should you leave the Department.


Probation is a formal arrangement at the start of an appointment whereby new staff demonstrate their suitability for a particular job within a set time period. The length of the probation period varies according to both grade or nature of a post and the length of the appointment. Details will be set out in your contract of employment.

A probationary period is served for a particular job. In addition to your initial appointment you may have to serve a further period of probation if you are subsequently appointed to a new post with different or additional duties and responsibilities.

During the probationary period your supervisor will arrange a series of progress reviews at appropriate intervals. The purpose of these formal assessments at various stages of probation is two-fold. Firstly, they are a means of demonstrating and building on progress made and secondly, in the event of any problem arising, they ensure there are clear indications of the difficulties that have arisen and the steps taken to attempt to resolve them. The decision to confirm your appointment at the end of your probationary period will be based on these assessments. 

The decision to confirm your appointment at the end of your probationary period will be taken by your PI or line manager based on these assessments. 

Further information about probation is available in the University’s Probation Policy for Contract Research Staff.

Probation forms are available on the contract research staff pages of the Department’s intranet


Registration in the department is now via an online registration form. Group secretaries and administrators can click on this link to create a unique link for each individual needing to register in the department.


  • Secretaries/group administrators need to generate a unique link to an online registration form. Once generated, this is automatically emailed to the new starter registering.
  • The new starter clicks on their unique link, completes the form and submits. This sends the completed online form to
  • Safety induction is part of the registration process and must be completed in order to submit the registration form.
  • The Safety Handbook and Statement on Safety can be accessed on the Safety Handbook for Virtual Registrations page.
  • Once the registration is complete, it is uploaded into the database by a member of the admin team. Reception will then be authorised to give Mifare access.
  • Deposits are now paid online and are handled by E-sales who automatically notify the mailbox of payments received.
  • The DSE form will still need to be given to new starters, but is not a requirement of registration. Completed DSE forms should be emailed to
  • IT will arrange for the new intake of students to receive an automatically generated unique code on October 1st therefore these do not need to be generated individually. 

A portrait style photo will be required for your badge and for the department database. Please provide this according to the details below and upload on the online form:

  • Natural smile/expression
  • No group photos
  • Plain background preferred
  • Evenly lit
  • Head/shoulders only, with space for cropping
  • Min 1200px x 1800px

Right to Work Check

The Right to Work check must be completed by a member of the admin team by 9.30am on your first day of work in the department. Please contact Rachael Jefferies for further information if required.

Security and Mifare card (photo ID card)

You willbe notified when your Security and Mifare Card is available 7-10 days after your start date. Once you have completed the registration process, Reception will issue you with a temporary pass, please be sure to return it when you have received your University Photo ID card.  You must return this card to Reception or the Department’s Personnel Administration Office when you are no longer a member of the department.

Roles and Responsibilities

All research staff have certain job titles and duties and defined responsibilities and duties

For those holding a University office, these are set out in general terms in Statute D (in particular D,II,4) and in any special regulations for the office held. More specific details are set out in the role description for the post and in any further particulars received during recruitment.

For academic and contract research staff, generic role profiles have been developed, in consultation with members of the University and employee representatives. In addition to the generic role profiles, contract research staff should meet with their supervisor or line manager regularly to ensure that the requirements of their role are clear. 

Academic and research staff guides can be found on the University HR website

Staff also have a duty to observe the University's required practice and behaviour relating to: health and safety; bullying and harassment; unlawful discrimination; use of IT; conduct in research, public interest disclosure etc.

Intellectual Property

You are required to observe the University's policies on Intellectual Property and Academic Freedom as may be decided by the Regent House from time to time. This includes, if your duties include externally funded research, any procedures and conditions agreed between the University and the sponsor funding your work and, if appropriate, in relation to any intellectual property rights arising from the research. You are reminded that, under UK patent legislation, applications for patent protection must be made before the research results supporting the application are publicly disclosed.

If your research is funded by any UK Research Councils or any other sources of external funding, any results of potential commercial interest must be submitted to Cambridge Enterprise as soon as possible. This is to ensure that your interests and those of the University are properly safeguarded and that any procedures and conditions previously agreed between the University and the sponsor funding your research are followed.

It is important that you are aware of the commercial potential of your research results. Cambridge Enterprise can help you with feasibility studies and market research in areas of potential interest. It is also vital that you protect your intellectual property before publishing any research results. You can get advice on intellectual property rights, and on sponsors' requests for delays in publication of your results while patents are applied for, from Cambridge Enterprise who also manage the commercial development of University intellectual property.

You should also consult the policy statement of ownership and intellectual property rights generated by externally funded research that you will have received with your contract of employment. 

Safety Essentials

Please ensure you are familiar with the following safety essentials.

Safety Checklist

  • Read the Departmental Safety Handbook
  • Ask to be shown and sign any Safety Sheets and Lab Management Plans applicable to your area of research
  • Complete a Chemical Hazard Risk Assessment Form for any research to be undertake and remember to keep this updated if your project changes
  • Complete a COSHH health record form if required for your work
  • Do NOT use any machinery until you have received proper instruction in its use
  • Do NOT use any faulty or damaged equipment
  • Do NOT attempt to repair or modify any apparatus unless you are competent to do so
  • Obey all safety signs and warnings
  • Keep your work area tidy and in a safe and secure condition 
  • Clear everything away at the end of an experiment or project, including unidentified substances that could create a potential hazard or disposal problem for others
  • Do NOT eat or drink in laboratories, workshops or other areas (including offices) where chemicals and other potential contaminants such as lab coats are present
  • Do NOT use mobile phones or personal stereos when working at a fume cupboard
  • Read the Safety Management within Laboratories Housekeeping – General Guidelines.
  • Ask for and obtain membership of any facilities you might need to use

For details of online and live fire training please contact the Departmental Safety Officer.  


Spaces around the Department which are available for undergraduate supervisions.

  • Outside service hours (09:00 - 15:30 on weekdays) the Cyber Café is available.
  • Any of the seminar rooms, if not otherwise booked, can be used at any time (U202 and U203, which lead off the Cyber Café are especially useful). Please note that you cannot pre-book seminar rooms for supervisions.
  • The foyer outside the entrance the BMS lecture theatre, and the balcony over the foyer, are available at all times. 
  • When not in use, any of the lecture theatres can be used for supervisions. The tables in the BMS are useful in this 


Travel insurance

To apply for travel insurance, employees must declare their travel plans on-line to the University’s Insurance section. If you do not register your trip before you travel, you will not be covered.

Employees should use this system to declare their travel plans. Once you have entered the required data the system will automatically issue you with a letter from the University Insurance Manager confirming that you have insurance for your trip. You should keep the letter of confirmation of insurance in a safe place as it contains important information you will need in the event of a claim. You may also be asked to provide confirmation of travel insurance when entering the country you intend to visit or when applying for a visa.

During the application process you will be asked to provide:

  • Department/division or subsidiary company name
  • Your payroll number (from your current wage slip)
  • The countries to be visited
  • The dates of your journey
  • The purpose of your journey
  • Confirmation of good health and that where you have a medical condition your doctor has agreed to the trip.

Once you have entered the required data the system will issue confirmation of insurance, an outline of the main policy benefits and exclusions and details for the FirstAssist Emergency Service.

University travellers must ALWAYS register their journey and print out confirmation of cover PRIOR to making any trip outside the UK.

Work health declaration and medical screening

The Department is committed to equality of opportunity and to a pro-active and inclusive approach to equality.

Work Health Declaration - All new employees are sent a work health declaration (OHF30) form with their job offer letter and asked to return the completed declaration before they start work. If you declare a disability or health condition that could affect your ability to carry out your work, a proper assessment will be carried out by the Occupational Health Service to establish whether reasonable adjustments can be made to your work environment and/or working arrangements.

Medical Screening - Depending on your duties, you may also be asked to complete a medical questionnaire and required to attend the Occupational Health Service for a medical examination before you are offered a post. 

Failure to disclose information about health problems that affect your ability to work may result in the termination of your employment. You may also be asked to attend the Occupational Health Service during the course of your employment if your health is causing difficulties for you at work.