Career breaks

Once you have been working at Agile Collective for at least five years you will be encouraged to apply to take a career break of up to one year.

A career break means that you take an extended amount of time off work for personal reasons such as spending more time with your family or to go travelling, and then return to work for Agile Collective on the same terms and conditions as when you left.

You will need to work for at least another five years before being eligible again.

Freelance or temporary work

You may choose to work as a freelancer for some or all of your career break, please see the Freelance Work policy for more details.

You may also wish to take up a temporary or fixed term position elsewhere such as an academic post. This is possible as long as it is not in direct competition with Agile Collective.


You won’t be paid while you’re taking a career break and your length of service with Agile Collective will be paused. For example if you have worked for five years and then take a year’s career break, when you come back to work we will still treat you as though you have five years’ service not six.

If you’re a member of the pension scheme the company won’t be able to make payments into the scheme during your career break which might impact the level of pension that you have on retirement; you can, however, continue to contribute yourself if you so choose. Please speak to the finance team for more information.


You will still be a member of the cooperative during your time away and will be able to participate in member decisions, but you are not required to. If, during your time away, an Emergency General Meeting is called that may result in changes to the fundamental nature or sustainability of the company, then we will make every reasonable effort to contact you to allow you to take part in any discussion or decisions.


In general, your computer and workstation should be stored in the Oxford office while you are away, please discuss this with the People Circle.

The company will continue to pay for your phone while you are away, but if you are travelling outside the UK or Europe for an extended period then you should purchase a suitable SIM card to keep costs within the contract. If your phone gets lost, damaged or stolen, then you will need to return it to the Oxford office to be sent on to the insurance company. Any arrangements for a replacement phone in the meantime will be at your own expense.

You may keep your bicycle as long as it is in a secure location. If you need help with this then please talk to the People Circle.

How to apply

If you’d like to apply to take a career break, please talk to the People Circle, with at least 6 months’ notice.

Your application will be assessed by the members who will consider the impact on the business and any mitigation required to cover your work in your absence.

Returning to work

The People Circle will agree with you the best way to keep in touch during your career break.

They will contact you at least one month before you are due back to make arrangements for your return to work in good time.

When you come back to work after your career break, you’ll normally be able to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions as when you left. This might not be possible if there has been a reorganisation or other organisational change, but we’ll always consult with you in these circumstances and discuss the implications with you as early as possible.


When you take a career break, this can affect things which you may not have considered. The below list cannot be exhaustive, but will help you to think about areas which you may want to look into before you take your break:

Note that just because this is the way things are written, this doesn’t mean they cannot be discussed to find solutions, but you will need to raise this with the People Circle before your career break starts so we can agree something before you leave.

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