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Staff benefits at the OU

The Open University offers a variety of benefits allowing you the opportunity to join a scheme that meets your personal needs.

Why working for us is a rewarding experience

Staff benefits photoThe 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

Staff Development

We invest heavily in developing knowledge and skills to maintain our position as a leading learning organisation

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.

Annual leave

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.

Study Leave

Benefits open book photoCentral Academic Staff are entitled to study leave on full salary for research or other approved academic purposes for two months in each leave year.  Regional Academic Staff are entitled to study leave on full salary for two months within each period of two years’ completed service.

Pensions, relocation and childcare

Pension Scheme

USS logoStaff 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 at

Relocation Expenses

Benefits photo of buildingsAll 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.

We offer a generous financial package to support relocation, including contribution to the costs of the employee’s new visa (subject to limitations and conditions) up to £8,000. Additionally, we can offer interest-free loan support up to £5,000 to cover other limited aspects of visa and settlements costs not included in the granted amount (again subject to conditions). For more information see our Visa Fees and Loan Scheme for New Hires Page. If you have any questions about this support, please contact us on

Maternity/Adoption Leave

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.

Shared Parental Leave

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.

Paternity Leave

benefits photo of OU buildingStaff 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.

Tax-Free Childcare Scheme

Eligible parents can join the Government ‘Tax-Free Childcare Scheme’ (TFC)

For staff considering the Tax-Free Childcare scheme further details are available on the HMRC website, including the ’Childcare Choices’ site as well as an online calculator.

Fitness, health and wellbeing

The Open University Club

Benefits photo of people keeping fitThe 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.

Private Healthcare

The University 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.

Work Life Balance

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.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The University is part of the "Cycle to Work" scheme which is a government initiative that allows employees to obtain a brand new bike and safety equipment (tax free) for commuting purposes. By taking advantage of some unique tax incentives available through The Open University and Cyclescheme staff are able to save up to 40% off the cost of a new bike and cycle accessories.  Actual savings will depend on employee's personal circumstances and rate of tax.  It is available to most Staff on the Payroll including Nation and Regional Offices (but is not available to Students or Associate Lecturers or staff on temporary contracts shorter than 12 months).

Smoking Policy

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.

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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 logo

Wellbeing+ Life

We can help employees navigate the ups and downs of life, family and relationships, planning a family, family crisis and financial difficulties.

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Wellbeing+ Work

We want to support employees with their work and career, including work-life balance, workplace changes, career planning and retirement.

For more information, please view our Wellbeing+ | People Services (

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality and diversity photoThe 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.

For more information please view our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion website.


Athena swan bronze award gender charter logo
Disabiltiy confident logo
Stonewall diversity champion logo
Employers for carers logo
Race equality charter logo

Please note that all these benefits relate to Open University vacancies and may not be offered by our partner organisations and subsidiaries. You should refer to their individual jobs for more information.