1.1 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. This guidance ensures a fair and consistent procedure is followed where a contract is terminated for reasons other than discipline, sickness, capability (performance) or probation.
2.1 This procedure applies to research and professional services staff on open ended contracts, including those with funding end dates and employees on fixed-term contracts.
2.2 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.
2.3 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.
3.1 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
- Some other reason of substance
3.3 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 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 Qatar and notice given.
3.4 In the event of delays to the completion of the procedure, UCL Qatar 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 Director 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 Qatar 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/Chief Operating Officer 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 Director/ Chief Operating 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 (see Appendix A).
4.4 The letter will invite the individual to a meeting to discuss the situation with the Director/ Chief Operating 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 colleague1. 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.2
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 Director/ Chief Operating 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.
5.1 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 Qatar, or elsewhere in UCL, if feasible
- to discuss the support that is available to employees whose post is at risk of termination, 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 (secondees only), eligibility for a redundancy payment. There is no statutory entitlement to redundancy pay under Qatari law.
- 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 Director / Chief Operating 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 Employment Contract Administration. 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).
6.1 If, following the meeting, a decision not to proceed with redundancy is made, SIP Form 1/2A (Changes to Appointment of Staff) must be sent to HR within five days of the meeting.
6.2 The HR Employment Contract Administration will then write to the employee to confirm any amendments to the employee’s 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 Director and Chief Operating Officer will be responsible for identifying any suitable redeployment opportunities at UCL Qatar. If during or after the meeting a suitable alternative post is identified, SIP Form 1/2 (Appointment of All Staff) must be completed. The HR Employment Contract Administration 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 Qatar 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.
8.1 If the contract is to be terminated a Leavers Notification Form must be submitted immediately 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 Employment Contract Administration. 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.
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 Qatar 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 Director/ Chief Operating Officer, have not been considered properly in forming a decision to dismiss.
An employee wishing to appeal should submit a letter to the Director, Human Resources Advisory Services within seven working days of receipt of the written confirmation of dismissal, clearly stating the grounds of appeal.
9.2 The Director, Human Resources Advisory Services will appoint in consultation with the relevant Dean or the Vice-Provost, a senior manager to consider the appeal grounds and provide a written response to the employee. The HR Director 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 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.
10.1 This procedure will be reviewed to reflect any changes in Qatari Labour Law.
Variations to Notice Period
Minimum of four weeks
The notice period is increased by one week for each completed years' service beyond four years, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
All Researchers and Grades 7-10
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] at [time] in [venue] to discuss the proposed termination of your contract. The meeting will be held by [Chief Operating Officer/ Director]. 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 workplace colleague.
I would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance at the meeting on receipt of this letter.
A copy of UCL Qatar Termination Procedure can be found on the UCL Qatar HR web pages.
Following the consultation meeting, in the event that termination is confirmed, we will consider all suitable redeployment opportunities for you at UCL Qatar. You will be kept informed of any suitable vacancies.
If you have any questions about the redeployment process please do not hesitate to contact the HR Director and if you have other queries about this letter please contact me.
Chief Operating Officer/ Director
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. It is recognised that suitable redeployment opportunities will primarily be restricted to vacancies based at UCL Qatar.
Your manager will provide a reference and you will be given time off to attend interviews.
CAREERS AND CV ADVICE
The UCL Careers Service has a 'quick queries email' advisory service for UCL employees.
The OD offers online training opportunities
INFORMATION SYSTEMS DIVISION (ISD)
ISD provide a range of IT training opportunities
In agreement with your manager, appropriate training and development may also be sought from a local provider.
OTHER ADVICE & SUPPORT
The service provides support and guidance for any practical or emotional issues, including counselling
HR Division, via the HR Director, will give financial information on early retirement, if appropriate.
HR Policy and Planning