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The Management of Change: a Briefing Note for Staff

 

From 1st August 2010 Cardiff University will be introducing new procedures in relation to the Management of Change which include important changes to the way it manages fixed-term contracts.  The University undertakes collective consultation with its recognised Trade Unions in relation to the termination of Fixed Term Contracts.  This briefing note summarises some of the key changes that will affect staff.  Full details of the procedure will be available on the Human Resources web-pages from the 1st August 2010.

 

1. Why does the University need procedures to manage change? 

 

The University has worked in partnership with the three recognised trade unions to develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures for Schools and  Directorates to have greater clarity in terms of the employment of staff in the future and to have confidence in following agreed processes to achieve change.  Change across the University is inevitable and these new procedures will provide a transparent set of policies and procedures to manage such events in a fair and consistent manner.

 

2.  Where can I find more information on the Management of Change?

 

From 1 August 2010 the University’s HR website will contain new pages which will store the Management of Change procedures and supporting documents.  There are four main documents in relation to the Management of Change and these include:

  • Management of Change Procedure
  • Guidance on the Management of Change
  • Fixed Term Contracts Procedure
  • Redeployment Procedure and Guidance on Pay Protection

Specific pages will be available on the revised Fixed Term Contracts Procedure with additional resources provided for use by both staff and managers. More detail in relation to the Fixed Term Contracts Procedure is provided below.

 

3.  What brought about these changes? 

 

In 2009 a negotiating group was set up to examine the way that the University uses and manages fixed-term contracts; in particular its use of successive fixed-term contracts.  This group was chaired by Professor Terry Threadgold and included representatives from all three recognised Trade Unions.  The University’s new approach to managing fixed-term contracts was formally agreed by the group on the 24th June 2010 and endorsed by Council on 6th July 2010.  These changes will come into effect on 1st August 2010.

 

4          Will the University still use fixed-term contracts and, if so, under which circumstances?

 

The University will continue to use fixed-term contracts in line with the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.  The use of fixed-term contracts may be appropriate in circumstances where one or more of the following objective justifications occur:

(i)         to provide cover (e.g. sabbaticals, leave of absence, sickness absence, maternity leave);

(ii)        the post is a clearly defined training or career development position;

(iii)       for short/medium term appointments which are project or task related or require specialised skills for a time limited period normally of 4 years or less;

(iv)       in terms of specific business uncertainty where there may be a need to make adjustments to the workforce.

 

Fixed-term contracts will normally only be used for a period of 4 years or less.  There may be some exceptions to this; for example, Medical Research Council offers programme grant funding for fixed-term periods of 5 years.  Staff employed on these grants would normally be employed on a fixed-term contract unless previously employed on a fixed-term contract on a continuous basis. 

 

5.         What happens at the end of a fixed-term contract?

 

If you have a fixed term contract you will be invited to a meeting to discuss your contract approximately six months prior to the contract end date.  At this meeting your line manager will explain the School’s intentions regarding your contract, and the reasons.  There will generally be three options open:

(i)         to confirm the expiry of the fixed-term contract;

(ii)        to convert the fixed-term contract to an open-ended contract; 

(iii)       to extend temporarily the duration of the fixed-term contract for a short period where objective justification continues to apply.  This will not normally be used where the member of staff has been in post for four years or more.

 

6.         What happens if my fixed-term contract is not renewed?

 

The non renewal of a fixed term contract on its expiry is a dismissal in law. In many cases the reason for the dismissal will be redundancy but there can be other reasons e.g. positions which provide cover or a training/career development opportunity where the reason for dismissal is for ‘some other substantial reason’.  Any dismissals by reason of redundancy will follow the procedure outlined in question 12.

 

7.         What happens after four years on a fixed-term contract?

 

After four years’ continuous service the normal expectation would be that should a staff member be re-engaged this will be on an open-ended contract.  Where circumstances prevent this a written record will be made of the reasons and the staff member informed.  For conversion to an open- ended contract a staff member will need to have both (i) 4 years’ continuous service with the University; and (ii) a contract renewal which takes them beyond 4 years’ continuous service.

 

8          At what point do contracts get converted from fixed-term to open-ended?

 

(i)         When the University introduces its new policy on the 1st August 2010 there will be a one-off conversion of all those currently employed on fixed-term contracts and whose completed continuous service already exceeds five years on the 1st August 2010. 

 

(ii)        Thereafter, offer of an open ended contract will be made at the time of the renewal of a contract if an individual already has completed four years’ continuous service on one or more fixed-term contracts.  There is not automatic conversion at four years – the timing of conversion will depend on when a contract is renewed after the 4 year benchmark has been passed.  The following diagram provides an illustration of when an individual’s contract would be converted in three different scenarios:

 

9          I think I may be covered under the transitional arrangements.  When might I expect to receive notice of a conversion to open ended status?

 

Work in preparation for the conversion of fixed term contracts to open ended status is already underway.  Your School/Directorate has been sent information to enable the conversion and will work with Human Resources over the next two months to issue appropriate contracts to those individuals eligible for conversion.  Work will continue post transition to monitor fixed term contracts and conversions to open ended status on an ongoing basis as contract renewals are undertaken and in accordance with the provisions of the Fixed Term Contracts Procedure.

 

 

10        What should I do if I haven’t received notification of conversion when I have in excess of five years’ continuous service as at 1 August 2010?

 

Initially you should contact your Line Manager who may need to consult your School Manager.  However please bear in mind that over 600 staff will convert to open ended status and it will take Human Resources some time to issue all contracts.

 

11        How do open-ended contracts work if I’m employed on a time- or funding-bound project?

 

Where staff are re-engaged on an open-ended contract any relevant factors that impact on their continued employment status will be included in the appointment letter.  In the case of staff employed on a time or funding bound project, the letter will make direct reference to the project and associated funding source and will be supported by a relevant job description.  This is to ensure clarity at all stages in the employment relationship.  Additional information on any other relevant factor will be included as appropriate.

 

12        What happens if I am identified as being at risk of redundancy?

 

As outlined above, as far as possible staff will be informed in their appointment letter of any factors that may have an impact on their continued employment status. 

Members of staff who are identified as being at risk of redundancy – for example at the end of a project and/or where the funding is time limited - will be invited to a meeting within their School to discuss their contract – this will form part of the individual consultation with the member of staff and may be supplemented by further meetings as appropriate.  All cases, for staff employed on grades 5 and above, which are recommended for termination by reason of redundancy will be considered by a University Redundancy Committee – to which members of staff at risk may also submit written evidence – and this Committee makes a recommendation to the University Council.  If Council approves the recommendation to dismiss a member of staff by reason of redundancy, notice of this decision will be sent to the member of staff concerned.  Members of staff are entitled to receive contractual or statutory notice, whichever is the greater.  Throughout the period of notice the member of staff will be eligible for redeployment in accordance with the relevant University’s procedure.  Such eligibility will continue until the date of dismissal.   All staff will have the right to appeal against the decision in accordance with the relevant procedure.

 

13        How does redeployment work?

 

Staff with 12 months or more service whose posts are at risk of redundancy will be

eligible for redeployment unless they are subject to particular statutory immigration

provisions.

 

Staff will be eligible for redeployment opportunities for posts of equivalent or lower grades. Those wishing to apply for posts of a higher grade must do so under the normal recruitment processes.

 

The University will write to all eligible staff six months prior to their potential contract or funding end date to invite them to submit their details to the University’s redeployment register.  This letter may be sent prior to any meeting within the School and prior to any decision being taken in respect of the post.  Offering access to the redeployment scheme at this time provides the member of staff at risk of redundancy with the earliest opportunity to access suitable alternative employment.  Eligible members of staff will complete the Redeployment Skills Profile and be placed on the University’s Redeployment Register.  If, following any interview, the relevant member of staff fully satisfies the essential selection criteria with reasonable training, they will be offered the opportunity to be redeployed to the new position, subject to a mutually agreed trial period comprising the statutory four week period.

 

The University will offer transitional pay protection to staff who accept redeployment to a lower graded post.  This short term protection is available to provide time for staff to accommodate the financial impact of taking up alternative employment at a lower grade.

 

14        What does pay protection mean?

 

The University and the Trade Unions have agreed clear arrangements in respect of pay protection.  In the event that an individual is redeployed to a post at a lower grade than the post from which they were made redundant they will be entitled to 12 months’ pay protection with the amount of protection paid in accordance with a reducing sliding scale.  At the end of the 12 month period the salary will revert to the top of scale (excluding discretionary points) of the lower grade.

 

15        If I was dismissed by reason of redundancy would I be eligible for a redundancy payment?

 

Staff with two or more years of continuous service will, on dismissal by reason of redundancy, be eligible for a redundancy payment.  Staff will normally be required to work up to the date on which notice expires to receive a redundancy payment.  You will receive a letter confirming the dismissal which will outline your entitlement to redundancy pay and provide you with a breakdown on how the redundancy pay has been calculated – this will either be on the basis of statutory or enhanced redundancy pay.

 

16        How will I know if I am entitled to enhanced or statutory redundancy pay?

 

The letter confirming your dismissal will confirm your entitlement. Staff who have accrued 6 or more years’ continuous service and who hold a 3 month (or less) notice period (the notice given by the University in the event they wish to terminate your employment) will be entitled to enhanced redundancy pay.  All other staff will be eligible to receive statutory redundancy pay.

 

17        How will I know the length of notice that the University has to give me in the event that they wish to terminate my employment?

 

Details in relation to your notice entitlement will be contained either in your letter of appointment or your terms and conditions of employment.  A fixed term contract where an end date is specified is, in itself, notice of termination served at the outset of employment.  In the event that the University needs to bring a fixed term contract to an end earlier than the specified end date notice will be served in accordance with the relevant contract of employment.  This may vary and be between 1 and 3 months duration. 

 

18        If I currently have a 12 month notice period will I now revert to a 3 month notice period?

 

Members of staff who already hold a 12 month notice provision in their contract of employment will retain that entitlement and will not revert to a 3 month notice period.  All new staff appointed on or after 1 August 2010 and staff who convert from a fixed term to an open ended contract on or after 1 August 2010 will be entitled to a maximum of 3 months’ notice of dismissal.  The notice that staff will need to give in the event that they wish to terminate their employment will vary and will be specified in their letter of employment or the associated terms and conditions of employment.  If you have any doubt in relation to your notice entitlement or requirements please refer to your contract or the Human Resources Manager in support of your School/Directorate.

 

18        How do I find out more?

 

(i)         Read the full ‘Fixed-Term Contracts Procedures’, available on the Human Resources web-pages from 1st August;

(ii)        Speak to your HR Manager – visit the Human Resources web-pages to find out who is the HR Manager for your School;

(iii)       Attend one of the briefing sessions on the Management of Change and Fixed-Term Employment that will commence in September 2010.  Details about the dates of such sessions and how you might reserve a space will be on the HR website by the end of August 2010.