- 1. Introduction
- 2. Deadlines – Main Stages
- 3. Head of Departments – Key Responsibilities
- 4. Overview of the Notification Process and Initial Response
- 5. Procedure to Extend Fixed-Term Contracts
- 6. Procedure to Transfer to Indefinite Status
- 7. Procedure to Terminate Fixed-Term Contracts due to Redundancy
- 8. Index of Forms and Index of Standard Letters / E-mail Templates
a) These guidelines are designed to assist the management of fixed-term contracts as they approach their end date. Reference to HoDs throughout this document includes delegates.
Further advice and support on any aspect of this toolkit can be obtained from your HR Partner.
b) Termination of fixed-term contracts on their expiry date is usually a redundancy. Dismissals can also take place for other reasons, for example disciplinary, performance or health matters. This distinction should be kept clear and the appropriate procedure (e.g. disciplinary) be followed.
Event contracts where no redundancy exists (e.g. the end of maternity leave cover) and secondments are not covered by the guidelines below and a separate set of guidelines applies.
c) Under these guidelines the following approach is taken:
- a written case for the potential redundancy will be produced by the manager and authorised by the HoD and Dean
- consideration will be given to the redundancy pool (i.e. staff potentially at risk if the post is made redundant) and selection criteria proposed if the pool is greater than one
- collective consultation will take place between HR and the campus unions
- departments will carry out individual consultation with the member(s) of staff
- HoDs will have the role of carrying out final consultation meetings and confirming dismissals where appropriate.
Departments will be notified of response dates at the time of notification (see 4. Below).
- a) On notification from HR of the pending expiry of a fixed-term contract, decide whether to seek authorisation to extend, transfer or propose termination of the appointment(s) and take actions to progress.
- b) Meet the dates give for the return of documents to HR (liaising with the Faculty Office as required).
In the case of proposed terminations:
- c) Produce a case to justify the proposed termination.
- d) Identify the pool for redundancy (after discussion with the relevant HR Partner).
- e) If the pool is wider than the existing post-holder, produce selection criteria with the relevant HR Partner.
- f) Arrange for or undertake consultation with individual members of staff.
- g) Carry out the final consultation meeting with members of staff and confirm the decision to make redundant as appropriate.
- h) Advise HR immediately if a case for dismissal is to be withdrawn at any stage during the procedure.
- i) Ensure that procedures are carried out fairly within their department and that outcomes are reasonable and justifiable.
- j) Seek advice from HR as and when required.
- Notification of fixed-term contracts due to end will take place approximately 4 months in advance of contract end dates to allow subsequent formal consultation to take place
- An authorised case to terminate, extend or transfer should be returned by the given response date
- Requests to extend beyond 4 years continuous service must give objective justification for the further use of a fixed-term contract
- Dean/Director’s can authorise the continued use beyond 4 years (after consulting with their HR Partner)
- After 4 years the member of staff may request in writing from the University a written statement confirming that his or her contract is no longer fixed-term. If objective justification is not provided within 21 days, the contract may become indefinite
- If an extension cannot be fully authorised before the response date a case for potential termination should be made instead
GUIDANCE ON STEPS (NUMBERING REFERS TO ABOVE DIAGRAM)
3. Complete form HR/FTC124. The objective justification should draw on the guidance in the document HR/FTC/100 (‘Reasons for the use of Fixed-Term Contract – Guidelines’).
4. A template letter/e-mail for inviting the member of staff can be found at 8.2.1 below.
5. The member of staff can forward their own written comments to the Dean if they consider that their appointment should transfer to indefinite status instead.
- All transfers to indefinite status require BRG authorisation
- Given that you will probably be unable to get authorisation before the HR response date, a case for extension should be made in parallel
- NB. A case for transfer can be made at any time, not just in response to notification from HR of a contract expiry date.
GUIDANCE ON STEPS (NUMBERING REFERS TO ABOVE DIAGRAM)
1. Make a case for transfer using HR/FTC/110 (‘Transfer to Indefinite Contract’) pro-forma, clearly setting out the reasons. You may find it useful to refer to HR/FTC/100 (‘Guidelines – Reasons for the use of a Fixed-Term Contract’).
2. A template letter/e-mail for inviting the member of staff to a meeting can be found at 8.2.2 below. The discussion should cover the following points:
- the content of the case being made
- the need to provide a CV (academic and related staff)
- the member of staff’s right to forward written comments in support of the case.
4. Cases supported by the Dean must be forwarded to BRG for authorisation.
A Frequently Asked Questions document can be found at:
- The most common reason for redundancy in the University context is where ‘the requirements of the business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind ... have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish’
- To be compliant, all of the steps in the procedure need to be carefully followed and documents returned in good time
- Members of staff have a right to be accompanied at all formal meetings by a colleague or trade union representative
- Some proposals to terminate will be necessary precautions (whilst for example further funding for an extension is sought) – if a Faculty/Division chooses not to make a proposal to terminate on the expectation that e.g. further funding will be received, the Faculty/Division must confirm this in writing to HR and carry the financial risk if the further funding does not materialise
- There is a legal requirement to take steps to seek to avoid or mitigate redundancy
- Attempts to avoid a redundancy situation should continue until the contract ends
- Proposed (or confirmed) redundancies can be withdrawn if circumstances change up until the date that a member of staff leaves their post - HoDs should notify HR immediately if this is to happen
- Redundancy can be a complex area and HoDs are encouraged to talk to their HR Partner if guidance is needed.
GUIDANCE ON STEPS (NUMBERING AND HEADINGS REFER TO ABOVE DIAGRAM)
1. Make the case to justify the proposed dismissal using the pro-forma HR/RED/01 (‘Reasons for Potential Redundancy’). Click here for further guidance.
2. Advice on how to define the redundancy pool can be found in the further guidance above.
3. If the possibility of a wider pool exists (ie more than one person at risk as a result of a post being made redundant) you must discuss this immediately with your HR Partner.
4. If a wider pool is proposed you will need to develop, with your HR Partner, draft selection criteria together with proposed selection methods. The proposed criteria will be forward looking and detail the skills, knowledge and experience (or competencies) required to do the job.
7. HoDs (or delegate) must invite individual members of staff to a meeting to consult with them about actions to avoid or mitigate the proposed redundancy (8.2.3 template letter/e-mail) and encourage them to attend. For guidance on the purpose of the meeting and on completing the relevant pro-forma (see below) click here.
If the member of staff declines a meeting, ask them to confirm this in writing and keep a copy.
8. The outcomes of the meeting should be recorded using the pro-forma HR/RED/10 (‘Potential Redundancy – Individual Consultation’). The member of staff should also be told that they can send their own written comments on the proposed redundancy to the HoD, copied to Abi Healey in HR, within 5 days of the meeting. It is helpful to confirm the outcomes of the meeting to the member of staff (using the template letter 8.2.4 Outcomes of individual consultation meeting and attaching a copy of the HR/RED/10). The agreed actions to avoid or mitigate the potential redundancy should start as soon as possible and continue as appropriate until the contract ends.
10. Return the pro-forma HR/RED/10 ‘Potential Redundancy – Individual Consultation’ to HR as soon as possible.
11. If the pool is greater than 1, the HoD in liaison with the HR Partner will need to carry out a selection process.
12. HoDs are authorised to carry out the final consultation meeting with members of staff and where appropriate to dismiss. HR will contact individual HoDs with a timetable for the meetings and will also forward i) a template letter to be used to invite members of staff, ii) guidance on conducting the meeting and iii) copies of the pro-forma for completion (HR/RED/30). HoDs may also ask their HR Partner to attend.
13. Following the final consultation meeting the HoD should immediately return the pro-forma (HR/RED/30) to HR.
14. If the outcome of the meeting is to dismiss, HR will provide the HoD with a template letter to be signed and forwarded to the member of staff. The letter will include the right to appeal within 7 days.
8.1 Index of Forms
Name / Web Link
8.2 Index of Letter/E-mail Templates (please personalise as required)
|Name / Bookmark|
|Invitation to individual consultation meeting|