Equalities Resources

Specific guidance for migrant members and expectant parents on taking part in industrial action.

On this page:

Information for migrant members 

Since the UCU industrial action in early 2018, there have been changes to the immigration rules that make explicit that unpaid leave for the purposes of industrial action is exempt from the reporting duties for sponsors of Tier 2/skilled worker and Tier 5/student visas, as well as the new global talent visa.

The change was announced in July 2018 by Sajid Javid (see full statement here):

“It is not the Government’s policy to prevent migrant workers from engaging in legal strike action; and, to date, I am not aware of any case where a migrant worker has had their leave curtailed, or been removed, as a result of having engaged in legal industrial action. However, to put the matter beyond doubt, I will be making changes to the guidance and Immigration Rules for migrant workers (under the Tier 2 and 5 immigration routes) and their sponsors.”

You can view the updated rules here, and the updated guidance for sponsors here. To be clear, migrant members of staff are able to participate in legally called industrial action, including strike action and ASOS.

Information for expectant parents

Some government benefits, including statutory maternity pay, rely on an employee having a certain length of ‘continuous service’. From uk.gov:

“Taking industrial action doesn’t usually mean that your employer will say you’ve broken your period of continuous employment with them. This begins when you start working for your employer and ends on the day your employer uses to calculate your length of service.

“However, if you take industrial action, your employer will reduce your length of service with them by the number of days you were on strike. This is important when working out your pension and things like statutory redundancy pay.”

This means that staff who are planning to access maternity pay at the University of Sheffield (or other related parental leave pay schemes) should not be deemed by University Management to have disrupted their continuity of service by exercising their legal right to participate in industrial action.