‘Oxford weighting’ of £1,500 for university’s lowest-paid staff

Top-ranked institution extends parental leave while also pledging action on fixed-term contracts, housing shortages and visa costs

July 10, 2024
Town houses, Oxford
Source: iStock/Arsty

The University of Oxford has pledged to increase the salaries of its lowest-paid staff and extend paternity leave allowances after a review of working conditions.

The package, worth around £129 million over five years, comes after vice-chancellor Irene Tracey announced the review in her first speech following her installation, in January 2023.

The university said it would introduce an “Oxford University weighting” of £1,500 for staff on the 10 lowest grades of its salary spine as of August, and move associate professors one increment up the scale, equivalent to a 3 per cent rise, on top of annual pay increases. The extent of discretionary increases available to research staff will also be extended.

On top of pay packages, the university is upping its paternity leave entitlement from the current statutory allocation of two weeks to 12. The university has also taken action to support workers with housing by introducing interest-free short-term loans to help new starters secure rental accommodation, alongside a pilot of a staff accommodation service that will help those new to the city secure accommodation. 

The university committed to addressing the use of repeat fixed-term contracts by making heads of department “explicitly accountable” for ensuring anyone employed on a repeat fixed-term contract for four or more consecutive years has their contract status reviewed annually.

It is also looking to “remove barriers to attracting international staff” by providing financial support to help international employers with costs arising from the UK work visa and NHS surcharge costs.

The reforms are designed to address the high cost of living in Oxford and the difficulty of finding housing in the city, with a view to helping the university attract and retain leading researchers and other staff.

Professor Tracey said that the announcement marked a “significant commitment” to change.

“It lays foundations on which a truly market-leading people strategy can be built for the future,” she said. 

Professor Tracey acknowledged that “finances are limited” but said that the announcement “signals the strength of our ambition for the years to come”.


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