Career Break Policy

Published: 16 November 2022
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources

Our policy on career breaks.

1. Purpose and Scope

1.1.  Registers of Scotland (RoS) is committed to a Career Break Policy to allow colleagues an opportunity to leave their employment on a medium to long-term basis to fulfil domestic or other commitments. The policy will enable colleagues to keep up to date during their career break and assist them where possible with affecting a return to work at the end of the agreed break. RoS believes that the scheme will help to recruit, retain, and encourage the return to work of skilled colleagues.

1.2.  A career break is special leave without pay for a specified period of time. The policy is designed for colleagues who are currently prevented from remaining in full or part time work but who would like to restart work when circumstances make this possible, for example after a course of further education, bringing up children, having cared for a dependant, relative or after a life experience. A career break will not be allowed for the purpose of taking up alternative employment or for social travel, e.g. not associated with caring responsibilities.

1.3  The maximum period of the career break is 2 continuous years, and the minimum is for 6 months. RoS cannot provide any firm guarantee of re-employment at the end of any agreed break; the colleague should take full cognisance of this before making any decision to embark upon a career break.

1.4. RoS will make its best endeavours to find colleagues returning from a career break a suitable post, however we cannot guarantee a job. In these circumstances, if a suitable post cannot be identified in the 3 months following the expiry date of a colleague’s career break, their employment with RoS will come to an end, without further notice, or any obligation (including financial) on RoS’ part.

2. Guiding principles

The principles of the career break policy are that:

  • A career break is an agreed period of unpaid special leave, where employment is paused and the colleague ceases to accrue benefits like annual leave, etc. It does not amount to a termination of employment.
  • A career break will impact a colleague’s terms and conditions of employment.
  • Permanent employees at RoS who meet the eligibility criteria can apply to take a career break.
  • The colleague taking a career break must be aware that their existing post will not be held open for them to return to.
  • Whilst on a career break, colleagues will continue to be employed by RoS and should continue to adhere to the Civil Service Code.
  • During the career break, colleagues can apply at any time for suitable vacancies advertised within RoS and the wider Civil Service.
  • The policy is not intended as a means of dealing with short-term emergencies for which other forms of leave would be more appropriate.

3. Eligibility

3.1.  Colleagues who wish to be considered for a career break must have:

  • successfully completed their probation period.
  • no live disciplinary warnings on their file.
  • not been placed on the formal capability process due to attendance.
  • not been placed on a formal stage of the performance capability procedure.

3.2.  Granting of a career break is entirely at the discretion of management. Where an application does not meet the criteria, it will be automatically refused. You may appeal against this decision using the RoS grievance procedure.

4. Further Information

Further information can be found in our career break procedure regarding effect on conditions of service and procedures.

5. Roles and responsibilities

The Strategic Workforce Planning Group is responsible for the content of this policy, its approval and review. They are responsible for ensuring its implementation in practice and for monitoring this over time. They are responsible for ensuring that appropriate procedures, guidelines, or standards are maintained and ownership for these assigned appropriately. Colleagues can contact the HR team for individual advice or guidance in relation to this policy.

6. Approval and review

This policy will be reviewed and approved by Strategic Workforce Planning Group annually, unless an alternative date is required.

AuthorEmployee Relations Manager
ReviewedHead of Human Resources
Cleared Corporate Director
ApprovalSWPG Approval date 11 August 2022
Policy version Version 4.0
Review responsibilityPolicy and Practice Group Review date 6 September 2023
Publication scheme Yes
Email to