Termination Procedure for all UCL Employment Contracts (excluding staff covered by Statute 18)
This Policy is only applicable for those staff employed in UCL Australia
2. Ending UCL contracts of employment
3. Termination Procedure
4. Invitation to a meeting
5. The meeting
6. Extension of Contracts
1.1 This procedure applies to research and support staff on open ended contracts, including those with funding end dates and employees on fixed-term contracts.
1.2 Where an employment contract may be terminated due to organisational change e.g. changes in the duties, roles or working practices of individual employees or a group of employees, the organisational change procedure must be followed before the termination procedure is initiated.
1.3 This procedure does not apply to academic employees covered by statute 18 including Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors. The procedure under Statute 18 is different.
1.4 It is UCL's policy to avoid redundancies where possible including through redeployment and to select employees fairly for redundancy where this is deemed necessary.
2 Ending UCL contracts of employment
2.1 Employment contracts may be terminated in the following circumstances:
- There is no longer a need for the work to be undertaken
- The funding for the post is limited to a specified period and there is no foreseeable prospect of securing further funding to renew/extend the post
- The appointment has been made to undertake a specific project which has been completed
- The appointment has been made for part of the academic year only on a non-recurring basis.
- There is no longer a need to cover staff absence (e.g. a period of maternity leave or sickness absence)
- There is no longer a need for the work to be undertaken
2.2 Any issues which arise in relation to the employee's capability, performance or conduct should be dealt with through the relevant procedure, and managers should not rely on the duration of an employment contract as a method of termination. For further details, see the Capability Policy - managing under-performance and the Disciplinary Policy.
3 Termination Procedure
3.1 It will be the responsibility of the Director to ensure that the action required by UCL Australia is undertaken in each case.
3.2 This Termination procedure indicates the timescales that should be followed to ensure that all stages of the process are completed prior to the proposed end date of the contract. Any delay by departments in instigating any stage may result in the contractual end date being changed to ensure that the procedure can be completed within the individual's employment at UCL and notice given.
3.3 In the event of delays to the completion of the procedure, UCL Australia will be liable for any additional salary that is paid. In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to modify the timescales between the stages of the Termination Procedure to ensure that they are completed prior to the proposed termination date. Should this be necessary, the HR Consultancy Team should be contacted for further advice.
4 Invitation to a meeting
4.1 From nine months prior to the expected funding end date of the contract, UCL Australia will receive an automated weekly email from HR. This asks the department to ascertain whether the contract will be extended/continued or terminated, and reminds them of the requirement to arrange a meeting with the individual as detailed below (4.3).
4.2 The department should avoid redundancies where possible through forward planning. The Director should consider:
- Further funding
- New grant bids
- Potential for collaboration
- Vacancies/ anticipated leavers
- Local redeployment
4.3 Where all avenues have been explored and it is possible that the contract will terminate, the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer will write to the employee as soon as possible explaining that dismissal is being considered and setting out the reason(s) for the proposed termination (seeAppendix A).
4.4 The letter will invite the individual to a meeting to discuss the situation with the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer. The individual will be given five working days' notice of the meeting and will be reminded of his/her right to be accompanied by a workplace representative (work colleague or a local trade union representative). The meeting should take place three and a half months prior to the proposed end date of the contract, and no later than two weeks prior to the start of the employee's notice period.1
4.5 If the individual or his/her representative is unable to attend or fails to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, the meeting will be rearranged once within five days of the original date. If the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, another date will be offered within five working days of the original date. If the individual does not attend without prior notice, a decision regarding the termination of their employment will be made in the absence of further consultation with him/her.
4.6 If prior to the meeting taking place, further funding is identified and agreed, the contract end date may be extended (see section 6) without a meeting taking place.
5 The meeting
5.1 Accurate notes should be taken of the meeting to record what has been discussed. The purpose of this meeting is:
- to clarify the reasons for the possibility of the contract ending
- to give the employee the opportunity to make representations with regard to the termination of their contract, ask questions or raise any relevant issues.
- to discuss the feasibility of taking action to avoid the dismissal of the employee e.g.:
- the possibility of additional funding becoming available
- the allocation of alternative duties
- redeployment to a suitable alternative post within UCL Australia
- to discuss the support that is available to employees whose post is at risk of redundancy, such as the arrangements that are in place for seeking redeployment within UCL, the right to time off to seek alternative employment, relevant training opportunities and access to careers advice (see Appendix B); and where relevant, eligibility for a redundancy payment
- to give oral notification of the contract ending if there are no new courses of action to be investigated after the meeting (see section 5.2)
5.2 Any potential courses of action identified during the meeting, or new points raised, should be investigated promptly and a written response provided within five days of the meeting. If not already notified at the meeting the employee must be notified orally by the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer of the decision regarding their contract as soon as possible and within this five day period.
5.3 The formal notice period will commence once the decision is confirmed in writing by the HR Operations Team. This will be processed on receipt of a Service in Partnership (SIP) Form and a copy of the letter inviting the individual to the consultation meeting (see Appendix A).
6 Extension of Contract
6.1 If, following the meeting, a decision not to proceed with redundancy is made, the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer must complete SIP Form 1/2A (Changes to Appointment of Staff) and send it to HR within five days of the meeting.
6.2 The HR Operations Team will then write to the employee to confirm any amendments to their contract.
6.3 The Termination Procedure must be repeated prior to the expected end date of any extension of a fixed term contract if the extension is for a period of more than three months.
7.1 The Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer will be responsible for identifying any suitable redeployment opportunities at UCL Australia. If during or after the meeting a suitable alternative post is identified, the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer must, in consultation with their contact in the HR Consultancy Team, complete SIP Form 1/2 (Appointment of All Staff). The HR Operations Team will then write to the employee to confirm the details of their redeployment.
7.2 Redeployment will normally be effective from the expected end date of the contract, and the employee will not be eligible for receipt of a redundancy payment but will instead continue their service as a UCL employee.
7.3 Redeployments are subject to a trial period of at least four weeks on both sides, so that an employee's suitability for the post can be determined without affecting their right to a redundancy payment where applicable.
7.4 The Higher Education Modern Awards specify that general staff are entitled to one day off work to seek other employment and academic staff are entitled to one day off during each week of the notice period for this purpose. This time must be agreed with the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer who may in the case of academic staff seek proof of attendance at interviews.
8.1 If the contract is to be terminated, the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer must immediately complete and submit a Leavers Notification Form through SiP. They must also send, or email, a copy of the letter inviting the individual to the meeting (as described at 4.3), to the HR Operations Team. Both these documents should be sent concurrently and within five working days of the meeting with the employee.
8.2 Notice of termination will begin with effect from the date that the employee is notified in writing of this decision. If the employee's post is redundant and they meet the necessary eligibility criteria, arrangements will be made for the payment of redundancy pay. If an academic employee leaves prior to the end of their notice period, s/he will continue to receive the same pay and benefits as s/he would have received until the end of their notice.
8.3 In the event of a contract terminating, the employee will continue to be paid until the HR Division receives a Leaver's Notification Form and copy of the letter inviting the employee to a meeting. Should this not be received in sufficient time, UCL Australia will be liable for any additional salary that is paid.
9.1 An employee may appeal against a decision to dismiss him/her. The employee must be specific about the grounds of the appeal. Appeals can be raised on one or both of the following grounds:
- the procedure - a failure to follow the termination procedure
- the decision - the employee must specify where s/he believes that representations, questions or issues raised at the meeting with the Chief Executive / Chief Financial Officer, have not been considered properly in forming a decision to dismiss.
An employee wishing to appeal should submit a letter to the Director of Human Resources within five working days of receipt of the written confirmation of dismissal, clearly stating the grounds of appeal.
9.2 The Director of Human Resources will appoint in consultation with the relevant Dean or the Vice-Provost Operations, a senior manager to consider the appeal grounds and provide a written response to the employee. A member of the HR Consultancy Team will provide professional advice to the manager.
9.3 The employee will normally be notified of the decision of the appeal orally within one working day, and in writing within five working days of the decision. A copy of the letter confirming the decision will also be sent to any representative.
9.4 The decision of the Appeal stage is final.
9.5 If the Appeal is upheld, the member of employee's continuity of service will be preserved and arrangements made for their employment to continue. However, if the Appeal is not upheld, the employee's contract will terminate as proposed and notice will be deemed to have been given on the date on which the employee was informed orally of the termination of their contract and if eligible, arrangements will continue to be made for the payment of a redundancy payment.
10.1 This procedure will be reviewed to reflect changes in Australian employment law and will be amended only following negotiations with UCL's recognised Trade Unions.
|Staff Group||Notice Period||Variations to Notice Period|
|Grades 1-6||Minimum of four weeks||The notice period is increased by one week for each completed year's service beyond four years, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.|
|All Researchers and Grades 7-10||Three months|
Model Letter: Invitation to staff to attend meeting to discuss possible redundancy.
Strictly Confidential - Addressee only
[Name and Department]
As you are aware your position as [job title] in the [Department] is at risk of redundancy on [date] due to [Insert reason – see 2.1].
I would like to invite you to attend a meeting on [date]