The following procedures will be adopted by the University in the event of the need to implement redundancies affecting support staff, including academic-related staff. Redundancy procedures affecting academic staff are prescribed within the University Charter and Statutes.
Redundancy, in practice, means dismissing employees voluntarily, compulsorily or through the non-renewal of a fixed-term contract if the requirements of the business for employees to:
- carry out work of a particular kind; or
- carry out work of a particular kind, in the place where the employee was employed;
- have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish.
Since 1 March 1996, there has been a legal requirement for employers, proposing to dismiss as redundant twenty or more employees, within a period of 90 days, to consult about the dismissals with all the persons who are appropriate representatives. Consultation must begin in good time and in any event:
- where the employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 100 or more employees at one establishment, at least 90 days before the first dismissal takes effect
- otherwise, at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect.
The University will normally define appropriate representatives as the Campus Trade Unions.
There is no legal requirement to consult if fewer than 20 redundancies are proposed at any one time, but this does not remove the necessity to act reasonably and to consult with the individuals affected.
Redundancies of less than 20 within a period of 90 days
In these circumstances, the University will notify the Campus Trade Unions of those staff affected and the reason for the redundancy, as soon as is possible. The University will consult with the individuals affected, in order to identify suitable redeployment opportunities and to offer any appropriate out-placement counselling. In addition, the individuals will be sent personal copies of the vacancy bulletin "Job Spot." The University will also consult with the relevant Trade Union, at the request of the local branch Officers.
Redundancies of 20 or more within a period of 90 days
In these circumstances, the University will adhere to the statutory requirements within the prescribed time limits. Specifically, the University will provide the following information, in writing and arrange a meeting with the Campus Unions, as soon as possible, to discuss the overall position and the process to be followed:
i. the reasons for the proposed redundancies;
- the numbers and descriptions of employees whom it is proposed to dismiss as redundant;
iii. the total number of employees of any such description employed by the employer at the establishment in question;
the proposed method of selecting the employees who may be dismissed;
the proposed method of carrying out the dismissals, with due regard to any agreed procedure, including the period over which the dismissals are to take effect; and
the proposed method of calculating the amount of any severance payments to be made (other than statutory redundancy pay);
and consult on ways of:
- avoiding dismissing employees;
- reducing numbers of employees to be dismissed;
- mitigating the consequences of the dismissal(s).
In the event that there is the need to select an individual or individuals for redundancy, from a group of staff undertaking the same or similar work in the unit of selection, the University will:
- take account of any offers from staff to leave voluntarily, under the approved severance terms.
- apply the following criteria in selecting staff for compulsory redundancy:
- level of appropriate skills and relevant experience;
A paired comparison exercise will be undertaken which assesses each member of staff in the unit of selection against every other member of the group. The assessment will be independently carried out at two levels of line management and any differences will be resolved by the Head of Department, who will submit the results and recommendations to Human Resources. The evaluation will be discussed with the Trade Unions and the names of staff at risk will be provided on a confidential basis. In the event that the above process does not differentiate staff sufficiently for selection, a further criterion, based on the length of continuous service with the University, will be applied. Guidelines for managers on the implementation of the selection process will be provided by Human Resources.
The University will also consult with the individual staff who may be affected to explore redeployment opportunities and to offer appropriate outplacement support. Throughout the process, the University, together with the Campus Unions, will review the voluntary severance position in order to identify possible redeployment opportunities for staff at risk.
The redeployment procedure is attached as Appendix 1.
The severance and early retirement terms, for both voluntary and compulsory redundancy, are attached as Appendix 2.
The severance terms are based on statutory redundancy pay calculations (SRP) multiplied by a factor of 2. Additionally, the following improvements to the statutory scheme will apply:
- calculations will be based on actual pay, the SRP maximum level of £210 per week will not apply;
- a maximum of 25 years continuous service will be used in the calculation instead of the maximum of 20 years service used for Statutory Redundancy Payments;
- all continuous service at Aston will count, including any before the age of 18.
Staff who have left the University’s employment under severance terms will not be prohibited from applying and being considered for different posts at a later date.
Periods of Notice
The University will adhere to its statutory and contractual obligations in respect of notice periods for staff leaving under severance arrangements.
Contracts of Employment
The University recognises the desirability of significantly reducing the number of support staff employed on fixed-term contracts. There will continue to be a need to use such arrangements, where, for example, the funding of posts is dependent on external income, such as research contracts. In these cases, valid waiver clauses covering the right to claim unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payments will be used.
Whilst transfer from a fixed-term to a continuing contract is not a right, any member of support staff who has been employed on fixed-term contracts for a continuous period of six years will be considered for transfer to a continuing appointment, where there is a proposal to continue their employment. In these circumstances, the Head of School/Department will carry out a review, which will include a discussion with the member of staff concerned. The member of staff may be accompanied by his/her trade union representative and a Human Resources Manager will be in attendance.
Where there is not a requirement to use fixed-term contracts, the majority of support staff will be appointed to continuing contracts on the basis that the campus unions have accepted the use of compulsory redundancy, as a last resort, using the procedures described in this agreement.
The above agreement is subject to review in the light of any changes to the relevant legislation, and for its termination to twelve month’s written notice on either side.
Signed: S Howitt, Chair JUCC (and see below)
Signed: K Thomas, Director of Human Resources
Approved by the
University Council, 18 June 1997
D Welch for AEEU
GEC Paton for AUT
J Finucane for GMB
R Hunt for MSF
A Hulme for T & GWU
J A Shine for UNISON
(to Redundancy Agreement
between Aston University
& Joint Campus Trade Unions)
The University recognises its obligation, as an employer, to seek suitable redeployment for staff on continuing appointments, whose posts may be at risk. The University is committed to providing appropriate training, where necessary, in order to facilitate successful redeployment.
- Members of staff on continuing contracts, whose posts have been selected for removal, will be subject to this redeployment procedure. Human Resources, together with the appropriate trade union representative, will consider all vacant posts and determine which may be suitable as redeployment opportunities. Vacant posts which are not filled via the redeployment procedure will be advertised internally in the first instance with any external advertising subject to prior notification to the campus trade unions.
- Human Resources, together with the appropriate trade union representative, will meet with the member of staff who is to be redeployed, in order to explain the process and to discuss any suitable alternative employment opportunities which may exist.
- If the member of staff does express an interest in any suitable alternative post, Human Resources will arrange a meeting between the Head of School/Department in which the vacancy exists, the appropriate trade union representative and Human Resources. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the suitability of the individual for the post, with or without training.
- The Head of School/Department may wish to interview the member of staff informally, in which case, the individual may be accompanied by his/her trade union representative. A representative from Human Resources will also be in attendance.
- If the Head of School/Department is prepared to accept the member of staff, a formal offer of transfer will be prepared by Human Resources.
- If the Head of School/Department considers that the member of staff is unsuitable, even with retraining, the Head will be required to produce a report, detailing the reasons, for consideration by the local trade union officers together with Human Resources with referral to the Support Staff Review Group if required. In the light of such consideration, the Head may be required to reconsider his/her decision.
- If, following this procedure, the member of staff is considered unsuitable for transfer, he/she will be informed of the reasons, by Human Resources, in the presence of the appropriate trade union representative.
- In the event of more than one person considered suitable for a post, candidates will be invited to submit an application form, from which a shortlist will be drawn up and a formally constituted Board will be convened.
- Redeployment will be subject to a trial period of six months on either side. Human Resources will initiate a review, at the end of three months, involving the member of staff, the Head and the trade union representative, to identify and address any difficulties which may have arisen. In the event that redeployment does not succeed, Human Resources will identify further alternative posts in accordance with the agreed redeployment procedure.
- A one off lump sum compensation payment, equal to four years loss of basic annual pay, will be paid to a member of staff who suffers a permanent reduction to their pay rate. The compensation payment will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance and will be paid at the successful completion of the six month trial period. In the event of redeployment to a lower grade post, the salary of the redeployee will be assimilated to the nearest appropriate point on the lower scale excluding discretionary points.
- If a member of the Aston University Pension Scheme suffers a permanent reduction in pay under these circumstances, the University will provide protection against loss of pension benefits arising from the reduction in pensionable remuneration. The protection will last for up to 13 years, (the maximum permitted by the Inland Revenue). This protection is an existing feature within the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
- The provisions of this redeployment procedure do not apply to existing redeployees who are subject to the terms of the previous scheme.
(to Redundancy Agreement
between Aston University
& Joint Campus Trade Unions)
1. Compensation Terms
1.1 The following compensation terms may be applied to non-academic staff who have a minimum of two years service at Aston University:
1.1.1 One weeks gross pay for each full year of continuous service up to age 21.
1.1.2 Two weeks gross pay for each full year of continuous service between the ages of 22 and 40.
1.1.3 Three weeks gross pay for each full year of service from the age of 41.
1.2 The terms will be limited to a maximum of 25 years continuous service for the calculation of the severance payment. Service will be counted from the dismissal date backwards.
1.3 Staff over the of age of 50 (increasing to the new statutory minimum age of 55 in April 2010) may also receive benefits in accordance with the appropriate pension scheme rules, subject to item 2. below.
1.4 The compensation terms may also be available to staff whose hours of work are reducedby agreement. The payments will be calculated in accordance with 1.1 above, but scaled down to reflect the reduction in hours worked.
2. Staff Over 50 (increasing to the statutory minimum pension age of 55 in April 2010 ) in Membership of USS
2.1 Redundancy compensation for USS members with 5 or more years’ pensionable service, who are over age 50 (increasing to the new statutory minimum pension age of 55 in April 2010), and under age 60 (or age 65 for USS members who join the Scheme after [date to be determined]), will be reduced by the amount payable by the University to offset the cost of the early payment of their USS benefits.
2.2 Regardless of the extent of the reduction referred to in 2.1 above, a USS member who is made redundant will be entitled to a minimum lump sum equal to the Statutory Redundancy Payment.
2.3 A USS member may request that any balance of compensation payable (after taking into account 2.1 and 2.2 above) is used to purchase additional pensionable service in USS (subject to any limits imposed by the Scheme) provided that retirement benefits are claimed with effect from the day following the termination of their University employment.
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