Case study

Think, Act, Report: Loughborough University

Evaluating and improving parental leave experiences at Loughborough University.


As part of Loughborough University’s on-going commitment to gender equality, a qualitative evaluation into the effectiveness of parental leave policies and procedures was conducted. Results showed that better information provision to support staff who are about to take leave/return to work was required, and subsequent steps have been taken to provide this.

Issue to be resolved

Results of an in-depth consultation (focus groups and interviews) with those who took maternity leave from STEMM Schools/Departments since 2011 revealed that:

  • Some line managers lacked understanding of family leave policies and procedures such as ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days’.

  • Some line managers did not know how to manage project funds if someone on a fixed-term research contract took maternity leave.

  • A reduction in hours upon return from parental leave was not always acknowledged by colleagues.

Action taken

Following discussion of the report submitted to Loughborough University’s Human Resource (HR) Committee, the following actions were agreed:

  • To enhance/refresh awareness amongst line managers of family leave policies and procedures.

  • To ensure that the workload of part-time staff, especially returners reducing hours on return, is controlled effectively.


  • Updated guidance on parental leave policies and procedures (including KIT days and maternity relief fund) is now available on HR webpages and incorporated into management training programmes.

  • Rights and responsibilities regarding workplace adjustments following parental leave is outlined during the University’s Respecting Diversity courses.

  • Workload is discussed during Performance and Development Review meetings.

Next Steps

Evaluation of parental leave experiences at Loughborough University will be repeated on a 2-year basis. New issues will be documented and addressed as part of the University’s Athena SWAN action plan.

Loughborough University’s Athena SWAN Bronze renewal application and associated action plan is available to download.

Published 4 November 2014