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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Working Hours

Hours of Work, Holidays and Holiday Pay

Hours or work and holiday periods are specified in individual contracts of employment.

Holiday pay is included in normal monthly pay and is not paid separately.

Annual holiday may only be carried forward from one leave year to the next if there are exceptional circumstances; such an arrangement must be agreed by the head of department.

The Annual Leave Year is 1 January to 31 December. The University closes on Public Holidays except that certain areas such as the Library and parts of the IT Service may remain open. Some teaching staff also have duties on some term-time Public Holidays.

Academic staff are expected to be available throughout term and vacation (apart from annual leave) to fulfil teaching, research and administrative requirements as set out by their Board of Studies.

Lateness and Absence

All University employees are expected to be punctual. Persistent lateness for work is likely to result in disciplinary action. If you know that you are likely to be late, you must always advise your head of department or supervisor of this and the reason for the lateness. If you did not know in advance then you must still report to your head of department or supervisor when you get to work to account for your lateness.

Staff who are late are expected to make every effort to make up the time.


Some departments or sections within departments operate a flexitime scheme. You will be informed on appointment if this applies in your section.

Tea and Coffee breaks

There are no University-wide formally recognised tea and coffee breaks.

Office staff are expected to continue working when refreshments are taken mid-morning and afternoon. Local arrangements exist for staff to take refreshments away from their immediate workplace, usually for health and safety reasons, e.g. for laboratory staff, kitchen and catering staff or estates staff who normally work away from their depot, and you should ask about local arrangements when you commence employment.

The times of lunch or meal breaks vary according to contracted hours of work and the nature of your job, so you should ask about departmental or college local arrangements when you commence employment.

Rest Rooms

Not all departments or sections have rest rooms available within their immediate area but may be nearby.

You will be advised of facilities available to you when you commence employment.