The Open University is a progressive learning organisation driven by core values of openness and access to opportunity. The rewards and benefits we offer our staff reflect this.
We pay competitive salaries which reward effort fairly, and enable us to recruit and retain high-calibre people. But we also believe that providing a rewarding work life means more than simply putting cash in your pocket.
The Open University also conducts Staff Surveys to establish people’s views on working at the University. This covers a whole range of issues from which recommendations for improvements are made following the survey results
We have a strong commitment to providing training and development in and beyond your current role. This includes thorough induction into the organisation and regular reviews of your training and development needs. The objective is that all staff should undertake at least five days’ development activity in each year – this may include attendance at formal courses or other learning e.g. use of self-study material. We invest substantial time and money in our staff development provisions and we normally waive fees for staff wishing to study our own courses.
The annual leave entitlement is 30 days for support staff and 33 days for academic, academic related or research staff, in addition to all bank and other public holidays.
There are also three additional University closure days that are usually taken between Christmas and New Year. Any Unit variations will be notified to applicants in the ‘Job related information’ document, during the interview and as business needs require in the future. Part-time staff receive pro rata entitlements.
Central academic staff on contracts of two years or more are entitled to study leave on full salary for research or other approved academic purposes for two months in each leave year. For regional academic staff the entitlement is to study leave on full salary for two months within each period of two years’ completed service.
Staff have the option of contributing to a pension scheme called Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). All new employees are automatically enrolled into USS although you can opt out.
Details of benefits and contribution rates can be obtained here:
All members of staff are required to be resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland. In addition staff are normally expected to live within a reasonable travelling distance of their place of work. The University will make a grant towards expenses necessarily incurred for removals and disturbance, within certain rules and subject to a maximum payment. Full details will be sent with any offer of employment. The removal grant does not apply to appointments of less than two years’ duration.
Staff are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity/adoption leave regardless of their service. Statutory maternity/adoption pay will be paid for a maximum period of the first 39 weeks, made up to full pay for the first 18 weeks, subject to minimum service conditions. Male and female staff, whether in same or opposite sex relationships, are eligible for adoption leave including intended parents in surrogacy and ‘foster to adopt’ arrangements. Staff have the right to return to work at any time within 52 weeks of the maternity/adoption leave start date, subject to certain conditions.
A woman who meets the eligibility criteria can elect to take Shared Parental leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (SPP) if she so chooses. SPL is an alternative to the mother remaining on statutory maternity/adoption leave. This enables her to opt to share up to 50 weeks of her leave and 37 weeks of her 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay with her partner (concurrently or consecutively.) This applies to parents in same or opposite sex relationships.
Staff are entitled to a maximum of 10 days’ paid paternity leave in connection with their wife’s/partner’s confinement in any one leave year in addition to normal leave entitlement, subject to certain conditions. This applies to parents in same or opposite-sex relationships.
We have a salary sacrifice scheme which enables staff to take advantage of tax and national insurance exemption on up to £243 of childcare vouchers per month (subject to eligibility). The scheme is managed by Computershare. Further information will be provided on appointment.
The Club offers a number of affiliated clubs, including sports clubs such as cricket, sailing, badminton and football and other interests such as gardening, astronomy and photography. The Club also organises social events, including theatre visits, days out and weekend breaks. In addition, a wide range of discounts are available via the Club from local and national traders.
University national and regional centres have some separate Club arrangements, details of which are provided locally.
Discounts are available on private medical insurance via the Universities and Colleges Personal Healthcare Scheme, with the added benefit of automatic acceptance onto the scheme if you become a member within six weeks of joining The Open University.
The University also offers the option to pay, via your salary, for a health cash plan. The policy will provide cash payments towards the cost of regular health care treatments such as dental and optical care.
The University also provides a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme offering free and confidential advice and support with life events.
Our Agile Working scheme can encompasses arrangement of hours across the week or the year, the number of hours worked, the location of work, and systems, processes and technology that enable high performance. Requests for agile working can be made and granted either on a temporary basis or as a permanent change.
Please note that smoking is not permitted in University buildings, bars and catering areas. Smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas.
The University understand that life is a journey with many steps and challenges along the way. We believe the role of the employer is to support colleagues during that journey, that’s why The Open University has produced Wellbeing+. This is a dedicated resource to support University employees through challenging times, whether it be in relation to health, life or at work.
Wellbeing+ Health: We want to support and help put employees in charge of their own
health and wellbeing, providing guidance on health issues and healthy living.
Wellbeing+ Life: We can help employees navigate the ups and downs of life, family
and relationships, planning a family, family crisis and financial difficulties.
Wellbeing+ Work: We want to support employees with their work and career,
including work-life balance, workplace changes, career planning and retirement.
The Open University is inclusive, innovative and responsive. We promote social justice and equality of opportunity.
We recognise that everyone has different needs and circumstances and these are likely to influence and shape their experiences as an OU staff member. We encourage our staff to tell us about their needs so that we can support them more effectively and check that our policies and practices are working to advance equality for all.
We aim to anticipate and respond positively to needs and circumstances which are ‘protected’ in our Equality Scheme and generally underpinned in equality law. Protected characteristics include:
• Caring or dependency responsibilities
• Gender (sex)
• Marriage and civil partnership status
• Political opinion
• Pregnancy and maternity (including adoption, fostering, IVF treatment, and paternity)
• Race (including caste, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin)
• Religion or belief (including no religion)
• Sexual orientation
• Socio-economic background
• Trade union membership status
• Transgender (gender identity)
For more information please view our Equality and Diversity website.
Milton Keynes Benefits
Information on local schools can be obtained from the Learning and Development Directorate, Milton Keynes Borough Council on 01908 253489 or visit their website at: http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/database/schools
The Mulberry Bear Day Nursery and Pre-School is a purpose-built nursery on the Walton Hall campus. It is an independent charity supported by The Open University and managed by parents. Open University staff applications are given priority but there may be a waiting list in some age groups. For further information, please telephone Milton Keynes 01908 (6)53867, email firstname.lastname@example.org or, see their website at: http://www.mulberrybear.org.uk/. There are a number of other private nurseries in the Milton Keynes area. Please contact the Families Information Service on 01908 253918, email email@example.com for further information.
Catering facilities at the Walton Hall campus and East campus provide a high standard of meals, snacks and drinks that combine healthy eating with a quality environment, to help staff and guests maintain a work-life balance. The Walton Hall campus also has a:
Free parking is available for our staff at the Walton Hall campus and East campus. We also encourage our staff to apply to use our car share spaces, and we also provide disabled parking via dedicated parking bays.
Cycling and cycle commuting are recognised as great fun and a good way to keep fit and healthy. In Milton Keynes there are miles of Redways that allow safe segregated routes to and from the University. For cyclists there are also dedicated parking areas available to use on the Milton Keynes campus. The University is also part of the national "Cycle to Work" scheme (explained within the Staff Benefits/Fitness Health and Wellbeing section) which is a government initiative that allows employees to obtain a brand new bike and safety equipment (tax free) for commuting purposes.
At Milton Keynes there are covered bus shelters located on the main road into the University in the centre of the campus. There are also several public buses between the University and Milton Keynes Station (including a subsidised bus service). Please refer to Milton Keynes Council's website for further information on bus routes and timetables.
The Milton Keynes campus has much green countryside in and around its vast grounds for staff to enjoy with the campus itself maintained by its own dedicated grounds team making the campus a green and pleasant place to be working. The campus is also home to many historic buildings and has close access to the River Ouzel and Grand Union Canal as well as various lakes. There are also many other attractions/facilities within the Milton Keynes and surrounding area (see trip advisor and other online resources for further information).
National and Regional Benefits
The University has a number of national and regional centres throughout the UK. Dedicated prayer/reflection facilities cannot be provided at every location due to space limitations however the University will accommodate requests for use of rooms and facilities for prayer/reflection as far as practically possible.
Other facilities will vary from location to location - details will be included in their further information about the job. Please also visit the Open University national websites in Ireland, Scotland and Wales for more information.