Employment Breaks - Section 36

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Employment Breaks Section 36


  • All staff should have access to an employment break scheme. 
  • The scheme should be agreed in partnership between employers and local staff side representatives 
  • The scheme should be viewed with other sections of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, particularly those relating to flexible working, balancing work and personal life and provisions for carers, as part of the commitment to arrangements which enable employees to balance paid work with their other commitments and responsibilities. 
  • It should provide for people to take a longer period away from work than provided for by parental leave and other leave arrangements. 


  • All employees who have a minimum of 12 months of continuous service 

Length of Break 

  • The maximum length should be 5 years 

Detailed information about employment breaks can be found in Section 36 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook.   

Further information:

If you are a member of staff and you have a query, please speak to your HR team or trade union representative.

Employers should send their queries to agendaforchange@nhsemployers.org

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