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Terms of employment overview


Our employees are paid monthly, half in arrears and half in advance, normally on the 15th of the month, directly into a bank account.

Hours of work

Normal hours of work for full-time employees are 37.5 hours per week, 9 am to 5.15 pm, Monday to Friday with a 45-minute lunch break. However, the nature of your job may mean that it will involve unsocial hours and weekend working. If this is the case, you will have an average of two days off per week.

Notice period

Generally, an employee is required to give, or receive from the RSPB, four weeks notice. However, senior staff and some key staff will have a 12 week notice period.

Annual leave

Holiday entitlement in a full year is 26 working days, four of which must be taken during the RSPB’s Christmas shutdown. Public holidays (or days in lieu) are additional to annual leave. Long serving staff receive additional holidays:

  • 3 years continuous service 28 days
  • 7 years continuous service 30 days

Part-time staff (which includes part-year staff) are entitled to a pro-rata number of days annual leave.

Payment during sickness absence

The RSPB operates an Occupational Sick Pay Scheme (OSP) in parallel to the Governments Statutory Sick Pay Scheme. OSP allowances are determined by length of service and in any 12 month period the entitlement is as follows:

  • Up to 1 year - 30 days (6 weeks)
  • Over 1 year up to 2 years - 60 days (12 weeks)
  • Over 2 years up to 3 years - 90 days (18 weeks)
  • Over 3 years up to 4 years - 120 days (24 weeks)
  • Over 4 years up to 5 years - 150 days (30 weeks)
  • Over 5 years - 180 days (36 weeks)

For part-time employees, OSP is based on the number of days worked per week and paid at the normal part-time rate.

Maternity leave

Our policy entitles you to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave regardless of your length of service. Continuous service will be maintained throughout the whole maternity leave period of 52 weeks. Qualifying staff are entitled to maternity pay consists of 12 weeks at 100% of salary followed by 27 weeks at the lower rate of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

Special leave

In recognition that people have domestic and family commitments, the RSPB offers practical help through its various types of leave.

Compassionate leave

Employees are entitled to paid compassionate leave of one to five days per year (pro-rata if part time) where there are urgent and compelling personal or domestic reasons.

Family leave

Employees are entitled to paid family leave of one to five days per year (pro-rata if part time) in addition to annual leave and other absence entitlements.

Paternity leave

Fathers may take one to five days (pro-rata if part time) paid paternity leave shortly after the birth of their child.

Parental leave

To help working parents of children under five years, we offer up to 13 weeks unpaid leave subject to one years service.

Sabbatical leave

For every seven years continuous service from the date of joining and each seven years thereafter, all employees are eligible to apply for a sabbatical. We give a maximum of four weeks paid leave.


The Society operates a defined benefit pension scheme, called a cash balance scheme. Both members and the Society make contributions to the scheme and the Society bears the administration costs of running the scheme. The Society's cash balance scheme is contracted in to the State Second Pension.