XClose

UCL Human Resources

Home
Menu

Termination Procedure for Fixed Term Contracts and Redundancies

Contents

1. Introduction 
2. Definitions
  2.3 Types of Contract  
    2.3.1 Fixed-term contracts  
    2.3.2 Open ended contacts  
  2.4 Organisational Change Procedure 
3. Scope of Procedure  
4. Identifying those at risk of termination  
5. Full Termination Procedure  
  5.3 Invitation to Consultation Meeting   
  5.4. The consultation meeting  
  5.5 Confirmation of the outcome of the meeting  
  5.6 Continuation of Contract   
  5.7 Processing the end of the contract    
  5.8 Reversing a termination decision    
6. Appeal    
7. Timings of the Procedure    
8. Modified Termination Procedure   
9. Monitoring   

Appendices 


1. Introduction

1.1 It is UCL's policy to avoid redundancies where possible through a variety of means including redeployment, and to select employees fairly for redundancy where a redundancy of an employee is deemed necessary.

1.2 This policy sets out the process that will be followed to terminate fixed term contracts and open ended contracts where there is a redundancy situation.

1.3 The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 provides that staff on fixed-term contracts must not be treated less favourably than staff on comparable open ended contracts.

1.4 The department should avoid redundancies where possible through forward planning. The Manager should consider the following in sufficient time:

  • Exploring the potential for collaboration
  • New grant bids
  • Applying for further funding

2. Definitions

2.1 Throughout this procedure the term “Manager” will refer to a Head of Department, Director, Dean, Principal Investigator, Line Manager or their nominee.

2.2 Throughout this procedure, the term “Department Transactions Administrator” (DTA) may include staff who have access to “Department Transactions” in MyHR and will include Department/Divisional Managers (DM’s), HR/Staffing Managers and Officers, and Departmental Administrators.

2.3 Types of Contract

Please see this guidance document for full information on the various types of contracts used at UCL.

2.3.1 Fixed-term contracts

A fixed term contract is a contract that will end on a particular date (stated in the contract), or on completion of a specific task. 

Fixed-term contracts should be used either:

A: To provide cover (e.g. sabbaticals, leave of absence, sickness absence, maternity leave and vacancies) or

B: To coincide with studies (e.g. PGTAs and Apprentices)

In both these situations, regardless of the length of the contract, the reason why the contract ends is not classed as redundancy (and no redundancy pay is due) but ‘some other substantial reason’. Please see section 5.7.1 for table of leaver reasons with explanations.

C1: To make short term appointments which are project or task related (e.g. a six month appointment to complete a specific task such as clearing backlog).

C2: Short term contracts which are supported by very limited funding for a short period of time, normally not exceeding nine months.

Ending fixed term contracts in these situations is classed as redundancy. Redundancy pay entitlement begins with two full years of service. For full details on redundancy payment eligibility please see UCL Redundancy Entitlement details.

2.3.2 Open ended contacts

D: Open-ended contracts with grant/project/funding end dates

These are permanent contracts that are issued with a clause indicating that they have a limited duration and/or source of funding.

The end date in the contract alerts the employee and manager that the role is likely to come to an end on that date, unless for example, further funding, or alternative work are found.

These type of contracts are not fixed term contracts. The termination procedure must be followed in full, irrespective of the end date clause.

E: Other open-ended (permanent) contracts without grant/project/funding end date

These are permanent contracts with no specified or anticipated end date. The Organisational Change Procedure may result in termination. Where redundancy cannot be avoided and redeployment has not been possible, the full Termination Procedure must be followed, following the conclusion of the Organisational Change Procedure.

Where redundancy cannot be avoided for academic staff Statute 18 must be followed and specialist advice must be taken on this from the HR Business Partner.

2.4 Organisational Change Procedure 

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. Scope of Procedure

3.1 This procedure applies to all staff. Unless otherwise stated, the full procedure must be followed in the following scenarios:

i) Type A, B, C1 and C2 fixed term contracts outlined at 2.3.1, if the employee’s total length of service at the end of the contract is nine months or more.

Fixed term contracts, where the employee has less than nine months' service, can be terminated using the modified procedure at point 8. These employees will be deemed to have been served notice upon the commencement of their appointment.

However, and regardless of the length of service of the employee, if a proposal to terminate a fixed term contract before the anticipated end date is made, advice must be sought from the relevant HR Business Partner. It will normally be necessary to follow the full termination procedure in order to serve the correct period of notice.

ii) Type D open-ended contracts with grant/project end dates as described in point 2.3.2

iii) Type E other open-ended contracts as described in point 2.3.2

3.2 The following scenarios are not within the scope of this procedure, and the relevant policy should be used instead:

i) The termination of a contract during a probation period

ii) The termination of an “as and when” or casual contract

ii) The termination of an agency worker’s contract

iv) The termination of a contract because of sickness absence, conduct or performance

v) The ending of a fixed term contract of less than nine months, where the employee’s total length of service is under nine months at the termination date.

3.3 Managers should not rely on the simple elapsing of the duration of an employment contract as a method of termination.

3.4 The relevant HR Business Partner should be consulted if any other termination of contract situation arises that has not already been listed.

4. Identifying those at risk of termination

4.1. DTA’s with access to MyHR OBIEE Reports should run the “End of Contract Funding Reminder Report” on a monthly basis to identify the members of staff who are potentially at risk. 

4.2 The report will identify staff who are funded by a grant and the funding is due to expire (projected end date or funding end date) or whose fixed term contract is due to expire, in at least three to four months’ time. (Contract Types A-D above at point 2.3)

4.3 The OBIEE report will not include other employees who are at risk because of an organisational change (Contract Type E above at point 2.3.2).

4.4 The DTA will then check the contract type and employment start date of the employee to establish whether the full procedure or modified procedure can be used. A summary of this is shown in the table below:

Contract Type

Length of Service

Procedure/s

Fixed Term A, B & C

Less than nine months at termination date[1]

Modified Procedure

Fixed Term A, B & C

Nine months or more at termination date

Full Procedure

D

n/a

 

Full Procedure

E

n/a

Organisational Change Policy must be followed before the full Termination Procedure commences.

[1] The full procedure must be used if the fixed term contract is being terminated earlier than expected.

4.5 Employees on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave or Shared Parental Leave have certain protected rights relating to the termination of their employment. Therefore, the relevant HR Business Partner should be contacted for advice before taking any action with regards to these employees. The Redeployment Policy should also be referred to in these situations.

5. Full Termination Procedure

5.1 After running the report as set out in point 4.1, the DTA will then contact the relevant managers to ascertain whether management intend for the contract to be extended/continued or terminated, and to remind them of the requirement to arrange a consultation meeting with the employee at least 3.5 months before the proposed end date of the contract (to allow for a three month notice of dismissal, where applicable). 

5.2 If an employee is at risk of redundancy following organisational change consultation (Contract Type E above at point 2.3.2), then they will be invited to a meeting to consult over the termination of their contract.

5.3 Invitation to Consultation Meeting

5.3.1 Where all avenues have been explored and it is possible that the contract will terminate, the Manager or their nominee will write to the employee as soon as possible inviting them to a consultation meeting to discuss the proposed termination of their contract (see template email Appendix 1).

In cases where an individual is employed on a PGTA contract and has more than 9 months’ service, they should be offered a consultation meeting 3 months prior to the end of the contract using the invitation to consultation meeting letter.

A meeting will be arranged if the employee responds within 5 working days of receiving the letter.

Please see the PGTA Code Of Practice for further information

5.3.2 The employee will be given five working 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 soon as possible, at least three and a half months prior to the proposed end date of the contract (to allow for 3 months’ notice period where applicable).

5.3.3 If the employee or their 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 Manager is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, another date will be offered within five working days of the original date. If the employee does not attend without prior notice, a decision regarding the termination of their employment will be made in the absence of further consultation with them.

5.3.4 If prior to the meeting taking place, further funding or an alternative post is secured, the contract end date may be extended (see section 5.6) or the contract amended without a meeting taking place.

5.4 The consultation meeting

5.4.1 The person chairing the meeting must be a manager of minimum Grade 8.

5.4.2. Accurate notes should be taken of the meeting to record what has been discussed and should also include the meeting date and details of who attended. It is recommended that the Manager use Appendix 2 (Individual Consultation Form), as a guide during the meeting of what needs to be discussed and to capture notes of the meeting.

The purpose of this meeting is:

  • to outline 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 taking action to avoid the dismissal of the employee such as:
    • the possibility of additional funding becoming available
    • the allocation of alternative duties, or
    • redeployment to an alternative post within UCL where a suitable vacancy is known to exist
  • to discuss the support that is available, such as the arrangements that are in place for seeking redeployment, the right to time off to seek alternative employment, relevant training opportunities and access to careers advice
  • where relevant, discuss the eligibility for a redundancy payment or for early retirement and
  • to confirm that the contract will end, and its end date, if there are no new courses of action to be investigated after the meeting (see section 5.7).

 5.4.3 Managers must be able to demonstrate, if challenged, that they followed this procedure and took all reasonable steps to avoid dismissal.

5.5 Confirmation of the outcome of the meeting

5.5.1 Any potential courses of action identified or new points raised during or after the meeting should be investigated promptly. A written response should be provided within five working days of the meeting addressing points raised, using one of the templates provided.

5.5.2 If there are no new courses of action to be investigated after the meeting, or the employee has failed to attend a rescheduled meeting without good reason, a notification of termination letter must then be issued within five working days of the meeting (see template letters at Appendices 3a, 3b and 3c). This letter can be sent by email.

5.5.3 The letter must specify the date on which the employment will terminate.

5.6 Continuation of Contract

5.6.1 If during or following the meeting, a short term extension to the funding end date of three months or less, is agreed, then this will be specified in the termination letter as the date on which the employment will terminate. The Manager must ensure the DTA submits a “Changes to Assignment” to extend the funding end date on MyHR. The cost code may need to be amended if the temporary funding is from another source. The process for the end of the contract must also be followed (see section 5.7 below).

5.6.2 The HR Services team will then write to the employee to confirm any amendments to their contract.

5.6.3 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.

5.7 Processing the end of the contract

5.7.1 If the outcome of the meeting is that the contract is to be terminated, the Manager must liaise with the DTA regarding the submission of a Leavers Request Notification (through Department Transactions in MyHR), ensuring the correct reason for leaving is selected and recorded from the following options: 

Leaver Reason

Used for

End of Fixed Term Contract

i) When a Fixed term contract comes to an end because the project or work is coming to an end

ii) When a Fixed term contract comes to an end because the substantive post holder is returning e.g. maternity cover

iii) When a Fixed term contract comes to an end because the role is linked to studies e.g. PGTA contract, Apprenticeships

Redundancy (End of Funding or Project)

When a redundancy situation occurs because an open ended contract comes to an end due to an external funding end date or because a long term project role has come to an end

Statutory Redundancy 

When an open ended internally funded contract comes to an end because the role ceases to exist due to organisational change

5.7.2 The DTA must attach a copy of the termination letter at 5.5.2 to the leaver notification in MyHR. HR Services must receive this information as soon as possible in order to process the employee as a leaver.

5.7.3. On receipt of the leaver request notification, HR Services will send a further letter to the employee confirming any redundancy payment and further details about leaving UCL.

5.8 Reversing a termination decision

5.8.1 If, following a decision to terminate the contract, further funding is secured the Manager should inform the employee and consult with them with a view to reversing the decision. It should not be assumed that the employee will agree. For example, the employee may have accepted alternative employment in UCL or elsewhere and not be in a position to agree to a reversal.

5.8.2 If a leaver notification has been submitted as at point 5.7.1, the DTA can recall the notification and request an extension as per point 5.8.1.

5.8.3 If the employee has secured an alternative role within UCL the DTA from the new department must submit the transfer request and the current department will need to recall the leaver notification as per 5.8.2.

5.8.4 The Manager should also contact HR Services to check that the employee has not already been processed as a leaver. If they have, HR Services will manually reverse the termination in MyHR and the DTA can follow the step above at 5.8.2.

6. Appeal

6.1. An employee may Appeal against a decision to dismiss them. The employee must be specific about the grounds of the Appeal. Appeals can be raised on one or more of the following grounds:

  • the procedure - a failure to follow the termination procedure correctly
  • the decision - the employee must specify where they believe that representations, questions or issues raised at the meeting with the Manager have not been considered properly in forming a decision to dismiss
  • new evidence – if new information has come to light with respect to the decision to dismiss, or if the situation has changed following the termination meeting that might lead to reversing the decision, but no action was taken.

An employee wishing to Appeal should submit a letter to the Director of Employee Relations, Policy and Planning via the Employee Relations Team within five working days of receipt of the written confirmation of dismissal (or, at the earliest opportunity if the grounds are due to new evidence), clearly stating the grounds of Appeal.

6.2 On receipt of an Appeal, 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 their 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.

6.3 Exceptionally, where the grounds of the Appeal are purely procedural, a query presented as an Appeal may be examined by a senior manager rather than a panel. A written response will be provided to the employee.

6.4 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 Employee Relations Team in consultation with the relevant Dean or the Chief Operating Officer. A member of HR Staff will be present to advise the panel and take notes.

6.5 The employee will normally be notified of the decision of the Appeal in writing within five working days of the hearing. A copy of the letter confirming the decision will also be sent to any representative.

6.6 The decision of the Appeal stage is final.

6.7 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 outlined in the termination letter.  

7. Timings of the Procedure

7.1 Any delay by departments in instigating any stage may result in the contractual end date being extended to ensure that the procedure can be completed within the individual's employment at UCL, including three months' access to redeployment opportunities and correct notice given. This includes taking into consideration the various options which must be considered in advance (see point 1.4).

7.2. In the event of delays to the completion of the procedure, the department will be liable for any additional salary or pay in lieu of notice 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 relevant HR Business partner should be contacted for further advice.

8. Modified Termination Procedure

8.1 Where an individual is employed on a fixed term contract (Types A-C as per section 2.3.1) and has less than nine months' adjusted service at the time their contract comes to an end, the modified procedure should be used as an alternative to the full procedure.

8.2 Whilst it is not necessary to hold a consultation meeting with the employee, it is good practice for the Manager to write to the employee (Appendix 4) at least 3 months prior to the termination date to remind them that their fixed term contract is coming to an end and to give them details of the Redeployment Procedure (if applicable).

8.3 The DTA will still need to complete step 5.7.1 to ensure the employee is processed as a leaver on the correct date.

9. Monitoring

9.1. This procedure reflects UK employment law and will be amended only following negotiations with UCL's recognised Trade Unions.

9.2 Data will be collected for the purposes of equality monitoring.

9.3 This Policy was updated in January 2021.

Notice Periods

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

 

Appendices

 

HR Policy Team
January 2021