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UAL to offer 26 weeks maternity leave with full pay from 1 October 2022 – FE News


GMB ( @GMB_union ), the university staff union, can announce that staff at the University of the Arts London enjoy an industry-leading parental leave policy as part of their terms of employment.

From 1 October 2022, UAL will offer 26 weeks of maternity leave with full pay.

The policy is available to biological parents, birth/adoption caregivers, partners (female, male, transgender, non-binary), same-sex couples and those with surrogacy arrangements.

The policy is open to directly employed staff and hourly paid faculty.

The announcement marks a significant improvement to UAL’s parental leave policy. UAL previously offered four weeks with full pay for maternity leave and one week with full pay for maternity leave.

UAL’s previous maternity policy was significantly less than that of rival Royal College of Art (RCA), with 26 weeks on full pay, and London South Bank University, on 20 weeks on full pay. The RCA also proposed more paternity/paternity leave with four weeks at full pay.

The policy change is the result of a multi-year campaign by the combined unions.

Amalgamated Unions highlighted the issue in March 2020 and again launched a petition among UAL staff for International Women’s Day 2022, which has gathered over 300 signatures.

Improved parental leave was also one of the main local demands of the UCU strike between December 2021 and April 2022, as well as the recent grades and assessment boycott, which began with the threat of 100% pay deductions.

Despite this positive development, the new policy will not apply to staff outsourced to private providers (such as cleaning, catering, security and maintenance) and to UAL short course staff or staff working in other UAL subsidiaries.

Clive Smith, GMB Regional Organiser, said:

“UAL members will see a significant boost in their work-life balance at an important stage in their lives when they welcome a new baby into the family.

“This is a great victory for the GMB and fraternal unions who have campaigned on this issue with tenacity and determination.

“I’m sure the university has recognized the positive impact this change will have on retaining qualified and experienced staff.”

Alex Brent, GMB branch secretary, said:

“This victory is the result of a persistent and long-term campaign by the unions at UAL.

“This would not have been possible without the support of members and activists in calling for improvements to what has been a cruel and unfair deal for all employees.

“It shows the strength of solidarity shown between the GMB, UCU and UNISON and is a tribute to them and my predecessor Matt Phul, who did much of the groundwork.

“However, I am disappointed that this policy does not apply to our outsourced members.

“It is fair to say that the majority of our cleaning staff are women who may have benefited from this policy – and for whom fair treatment by their employer is still a long way off.

“We will continue to fight to end outsourcing at the university so that the parental leave policy, like other terms of employment, can be enjoyed equally by all UAL staff.”

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