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Termination Procedure for all UCL Employment Contracts (excluding staff covered by Statute 18)
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. 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 open ended contracts.
1.2 It is not necessary to follow this procedure where staff have been appointed on a fixed term contract for a single, or cumulative, period up to a maximum of nine months as these employees will be deemed to have been served notice upon the commencement of their appointment.
1.3 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.
1.4 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.
1.5 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.
2.1 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)
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.
3.1 It will be the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that the action required by departments 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, including three months access to the redeployment register and notice given.
3.3 In the event of delays to the completion of the procedure, 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.
4.1 From nine months prior to the expected funding end date of the contract, the department 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).
If it is known that an employee will be on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave or Additional Paternity Leave as at the date that funding is due to end, please contact HR Consultancy before arranging the meeting.
4.2 The department should avoid redundancies where possible through forward planning. The Principal Investigator or Head of Department 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 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).
4.4 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 working days' notice of the meeting and will be reminded of his/her right to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative. The meeting will take place as early as possible preferably at least 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 Principal Investigator or Head of Department 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.
5.1 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 the department or division, or elsewhere within UCL where a suitable vacancy is known to exist
- 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 or for early retirement
- to give oral notice 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 there is nothing arising during the meeting that needs to be explored, notice can be given at the meeting. If not already notified at the meeting the employee must 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.
5.3 This decision will then be confirmed in writing by the HR Operations Team 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).
6.1 If, following the meeting, a decision not to proceed with redundancy is made, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department 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 If a contract is extended for a period of more than three months, the Termination Procedure must be repeated prior to the new expected end date.
7.1 If during or 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 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 If a suitable alternative post cannot be identified by the manager or as a result of the consultation meeting, the employee faces redundancy, s/he will be given access to UCL's redeployment database. The employee is responsible for uploading his/her details onto the redeployment database.
7.3 All recruiting managers are required to log onto the redeployment database prior to advertising a vacancy to ascertain whether anyone facing redundancy meets the person specification of the vacancy. Any redeployee meeting the person specification will be given prior consideration before the vacancy is advertised.
7.4 If while on the database, the employee sees advertised a UCL vacancy for which s/he meets the person specification, the employee may contact HR immediately to express interest in the position. The employee will be given prior consideration alongside any other suitable redeployees where s/he is deemed to meet the person specification.
7.5 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.
7.6 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.
8.1 If the contract is to be terminated, the Principal Investigator or Head of Department 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 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 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 and copy of the letter inviting the employee to a meeting. Should this not be received in sufficient time, the employee's department 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 Principal Investigator/ Head of Department, 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 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 employee will be notified as soon as possible of the time, date and place of the appeal hearing, and of his/her right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague. If evidence is to be submitted, it needs to be presented to HR in writing no later than five working days prior to the appeal hearing.
9.3 Exceptionally a query presented as an appeal may be examined by a senior manager rather than an appeal panel. A written response will be provided to the employee.
9.4 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 Operations. A member of the HR Consultancy Team will be present to advise the panel and take notes.
9.5 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 hearing. A copy of the letter confirming the decision will also be sent to any representative.
9.6 The decision of the Appeal stage is final.
9.7 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 reflects UK 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 the funding for your appointment as [job title] in the [Department] is due to expire on [date]. At the present time, UCL does not foresee this funding being renewed and therefore your post is at risk of redundancy.
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 reasons for the proposed 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.
Following the consultation meeting, in the event that redundancy is confirmed, you can access UCL's redeployment database once you are within four months of your end date. At this stage you can log your career details onto UCL's redeployment website to facilitate your consideration for redeployment. All recruiting managers are required to view details of individuals on the redeployment website and consider any who meet the person specification of their vacancy, prior to advertising.
If you have any questions about the redeployment process please do not hesitate to contact your HR Consultancy team contact and if you have other queries about this letter please 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 the UCL Job Opportunities site.
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
Tel: 020 7866 3600
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 (Workplace Options)
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 counseling service (see attached).
Tel: 020 7679 7747/2802
HR Division staff will explain the financial implications of redundancy or early retirement, if appropriate.
Jobcentre plus can give a range of useful information. Their job kit gives advice on issues such as finding a job, applying in writing or by phone, compiling a CV, preparing for interviews, registering with recruitment agencies and identifying transferable skills.
Other information available from jobcentre plus is summarised below.
If you need to make a claim it is important to contact jobcentreplus by phoning 0800 055 66 88 rather than calling into a Jobcentre Plus office. Their new appointment system enables them to prepare in advance, allowing personal advisers to focus on job-search rather than documentary evidence. This will help prevent unnecessary queuing.
The "Benefits Adviser" is an online questionnaire to help the public find out which benefits, tax credits and State Pension they and their families may be entitled to. It is important people are aware that National Insurance Credits are awarded while they are registered for benefits. You will find this at Directgov. Go straight to "Money, tax and benefits" and click on "Benefits Adviser".
The jobcentre plus website, Jobcentre Plus is one of the largest jobs websites in the world. They work with over 275,000 employers and advertise over 400,000 jobs.
HR Policy and Planning November 2009.