Statutory leave guidance for trainees and trainers

Information for trainees who wish to take time away from training due to maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave.


This guidance is relevant to trainees on the Scientist Training Programme (STP), Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) programme and the Echocardiography Training Programme (ETP) as all of these programmes are commissioned by the NHS. It is applicable to trainees on these programmes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For the purpose of this guidance all forms of leave will be grouped into statutory leave.

These guidelines should be adopted where the period of time out of training exceeds six weeks or more, or where it has an impact on one or more elements of the programme. For example, attendance at academic teaching, sitting exams or assessments, completion of programmes etc.



Arrangements for statutory leave should be made with the employer in the first instance in agreement with the relevant local HR policies. It is a trainee’s responsibility to advise the employer, the School, the local commissioner and the University of their intention to take statutory leave.

Trainees should work with their employer to determine length of time out of training, to review and revise the training plan and agree dates for the statutory leave.



It is important to appreciate that each trainee’s experience will be individual, and any specific issues must be discussed with the employer in conjunction with the local HR policies.

If a trainee is pregnant, once notified by the trainee the training officer/line manager should undertake an individual risk assessment to protect the trainee’s health and safety. If any difficulties with carrying out normal duties are experienced, a meeting with the training officer/line manager should be arranged to identify any adjustments that may be required. Training officers/line managers should work with the trainee to revise the training plan to reflect the impact on completion of the programme.


National School of Healthcare Science and commissioning organisations

The School and commissioning organisations will need to be informed of any planned statutory leave in excess of six weeks, in order to calculate a revised completion timeline and to factor in any impact this may have on training and/or funding.

When dates of statutory leave are confirmed, trainees should notify the School by email The email should include the training officer/line manager so the request can be confirmed by the employer.

In most cases, a trainees time on the programme will simply be extended to match the period of time away from training. If there are any complexities arising from the period of leave, the School will work with the trainee and employer to identify impact on assessments and completion of the programme.

You will need to refer to the local commissioning lead for further guidance on financial arrangements. The School will advise you who this is at the time they are notified of the requirement for statutory leave.

As employees, trainees will have the right to request flexible working upon return from statutory leave, assuming they have been employed for 26 weeks in a row. The Citizens Advice have published guidance on flexible working. Any intention to return to training part time needs to be declared to the School, including confirmed dates of the period of part time training in order for the School to provide an accurate revised completion timeline and to assess the impact on the programme. In most cases, unless there is an exceptional reason to do so, trainees must return to training at least 0.6WTE (22.5hrs) per week. The final working pattern must be agreed and supported by the employer.


Higher Education Institute (HEI) - University

The University will also need to be notified of trainee’s statutory leave and will be able to explore individualised support for the academic element of the programme. Any changes to the academic programme which impact on the overall completion timeline must be discussed with the School prior to approval.

Trainees should seek advice on who should be notified of the statutory leave within the HEI. A support plan may be developed and agreed to help with the co-ordination of support and to cover individual needs.

Last updated on 17th April 2024