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Termination Procedure for UCL Contracts of Employment
1.1 The Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004, came into force on 1 October 2004 and set out a statutory minimum dismissal procedure which must be applied to all staff. The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 came into force on 1 October 2002 to ensure that staff on fixed-term contracts are not treated less favourably than staff on similar permanent contracts. In addition, the Regulations specify that the expiry or non-renewal of a fixed-term contract is a dismissal in law. This legislation means that the statutory dismissal procedure must be applied to staff on fixed-term contracts.
2 Ending UCL contracts of employment
2.1 Employment contracts may be terminated in the following circumstances:
- The funding for the post was 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, as part of the UCL Teacher's Scheme or Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Scheme
- 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 member of staff's capability, performance or conduct should be dealt with through the relevant procedure (available on the HR web pages), and managers should not rely on the duration of an employment contract as a method of termination.
3 Termination Procedure
3.1 This procedure must be followed where the non-renewal of a contract of over 9 months in duration is being considered.
3.2 It will be the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that the action required by departments is undertaken in each case.
3.3 The procedure indicates the timescales that should be followed at each stage of the process to ensure that all stages of the Termination Procedure are completed prior to the proposed end date of the contract. Any delay by departments in instigating any stage may result in an extension of the contract being necessary to ensure that the Termination Procedure can be completed within the individual's employment at UCL. In this event, the department 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 Stage 1: Invitation to a meeting
4.1 Five months prior to the expected funding end date of the contract, the department will receive a reminder from the HR Operations Team asking for confirmation of whether the contract will be extended/continued or terminated, and reminding them of the requirement to arrange a meeting with the individual as detailed in Stage 2 below. Where it is anticipated that the contract will terminate, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department 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 (see Appendix A).
4.2 The letter will invite the individual to a meeting to discuss the situation with the Principal Investigator or the Head of Department. The individual will be given five days' notice of the meeting and will be reminded of their right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative. The meeting will take place as early as possible and at least three and a half months prior to the proposed end date of the contract.
4.3 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 Principal Investigator or Head of Department is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, another date will be offered within five days of the original date. If the individual does not wish to attend or fails to attend without giving notice, a decision regarding the termination of their employment will continue to be made in the absence of further consultation with them.
5 Stage 2: The meeting
5.1 The purpose of this meeting is:
- to clarify the reasons for the non-renewal of the contract
- 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.:
i) the possibility of additional funding becoming available and the individual's employment being continued
ii) redeployment to a suitable alternative post within the department or division
- 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; and where relevant, eligibility for a statutory redundancy payment (see Appendix B).
5.2 Any potential courses of action identified during the meeting, or new points raised, should be investigated promptly and resolved within five days of the meeting. The employee should be notified orally by the Principal Investigator or Head of Department of the decision regarding their contract as soon as possible and within this five day period. This decision will then be confirmed in writing by the HR Operations Team on receipt of a Leaver's Form (see the section 'Termination' below).
6 Extension of Contracts
6.1 If, following the meeting, a decision to extend the contract is made, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department must complete Form 1/2A (Changes to Appointment of Staff) and send it to the HR Operations Team 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 If after the meeting a suitable alternative post is identified, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department must, in consultation with their contact in the HR Consultancy Team, complete 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 The redeployment will normally be effective from the expected end dates of the contract, and the employee will not be eligible for the payment of statutory redundancy pay.
7.3 Redeployments are subject to a trial period of 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.
8.1 If the contract is to be terminated, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department must complete a Leavers Notification Form, attach a copy of the letter inviting the individual to the meeting (as described at 4.1), and send this to the HR Operations Team within five working days of the meeting with the member of staff.
8.2 Notice of termination will begin with effect from the date after that on which the employee was orally given this decision. If the employee's post is redundant and they meet the necessary eligibility criteria, arrangements will be made for the payment of statutory redundancy pay.
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. Therefore, should this not be received in sufficient time, the employee's department will be liable for any additional salary that is paid.
9 Stage 3: Appeal
9.1 Under the Dispute Resolution Regulations, the employee is entitled to appeal against a decision to dismiss them. A member of staff 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, stating the grounds of appeal.
9.2 On receipt of this letter, arrangements will be made for an appeal hearing to take place as soon as is reasonably practicable, and wherever possible prior to the proposed end date of the contract. The member of staff will be notified as soon as possible of the time, date and place of the appeal hearing, and of their right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.
9.3 The appeal will be heard by a panel of three senior members of staff who have not previously been involved in the case. The Panel will be appointed by the Director of Human Resources in consultation with the relevant Dean or the Vice-Provost Administration. A member of the HR Consultancy Team will be present to advise the panel and take notes.
9.4 The member of staff will normally be notified of the decision of the Panel orally within one working day, and in writing within five working days of the hearing. A copy of the letter confirming the decision will also be sent to any representative.
9.5 The decision of the Appeal Panel is final.
9.6 If the Appeal is upheld, the member of staff's continuity of service will be preserved and arrangements made for their employment to continue. However, if the Appeal is not upheld, the member of staff'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 statutory redundancy payment.
Model Letter: Invitation to staff to attend meeting to discuss proposed non-renewal of fixed-term contract
Strictly Confidential - Addressee only
[Name and Department]
As you are aware, your appointment as [job title] in the [Department] is due to expire on [date]. At the present time, UCL does not foresee your contract being renewed because [state appropriate reason as given in Termination Procedure Section 2].
I would like to invite you to attend a meeting on [date] at [time] in [venue] to discuss the proposed termination of your contract. The meeting will be held by [PI or Head of Department]. At this meeting, we will discuss the above reasons for the termination of your contract, and explore the possibility of alternative options such as redeployment. You will also be given the opportunity to ask any questions or raise any relevant issues. The final decision regarding your contract will take into account any representations you make at this meeting. You have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a work colleague.
I would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance at the meeting on receipt of this letter.
A copy of UCL's Termination Procedure for UCL Contracts of Employment can be found on the HR web pages.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
PI/Head of Department
Sources of Information, Advice and Support for Staff Notified of Redundancy
HR staff can provide assistance with this. Vacancies within UCL are advertised at
FINDING EMPLOYMENT ELSEWHERE
Vacancies within the constituent colleges of the University of London are advertised at
A paper copy of the 'Opportunities' bulletin can also be provided.
Your manager will provide a reference and you will be given time off to attend interviews.
The UCL Careers Service has a library and careers advisers at 49 Gordon Square
Tel: 020 7554 4566
The Careers Service and your trade union can provide advice on how to update your curriculum vitae.
ORGANISATIONAL & STAFF DEVELOPMENT
The OSD offers in-house training opportunities
Tel: 020 7679 1293 (internal ext. 41293)
INFORMATION SYSTEMS DIVISION (ISD)
ISD provide a range of IT training opportunities
OTHER ADVICE & SUPPORT
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (EAR)
The service provides support and guidance for any practical or emotional issues (see attached)
Tel: 0800 243458 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
UCL's Occupational Health Service offers a one-to-one counselling service (see attached).
Tel: 020 7679 7747/2802
HR Division staff will explain the financial implications of redundancy or early retirement, if appropriate.