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Conclusion of fixed-term appointments

Introduction

1. The following provisions apply when an employee's fixed-term contract of employment concludes and the period of their employment is governed by the Southern Cross University Enterprise Agreement.

2. Entitlements for employees governed by other industrial instruments may differ from these provisions.

Definitions

3. 'Fixed-term employment' means employment for a specified term or period and refers to where an employee is engaged in a work activity described by one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Fixed-term employment for a specific task or project
  • Research
  • Replacement employee
  • Secondee
  • Recent professional practice required
  • Pre-retirement contract
  • Apprentice
  • Teaching fellowship
  • Early career development fellowships
  • New organisational area
  • Disestablished organisational area

4. Each of the above circumstances is fully explained in the University's current Enterprise Agreement (links are provided to the relevant section of the Agreement) and are specified in a fixed-term employee's contract of employment.

5. During the term of employment, the contract cannot be terminated, by the University except:

  • Where the contract allows;
  • During a probationary period;
  • Because of unsatisfactory performance;
  • Serious or wilful misconduct;
  • Ill-health (see ill-health termination); or
  • Abandonment of employment.

Notice of intention

6. The University will provide a fixed-term employee with four weeks' written notice of its intention to renew, or not to renew, employment when their contract expires unless they were employed:

  • To replace another employee who was on authorised leave; or
  • Replace another employee whose position is vacant due to a temporary employment variation; or
  • On a pre-retirement contract.

7. Where an employee's fixed-term contract of employment specifies an entitlement to more than four week's notice, the greater notice period will apply.

8. Employees who are over the age of 45 years at the time notice is given and have not less than two years continuous service are entitled to an additional week's notice.

9. Where the University is not reasonably able to give the notice required in paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 because of circumstances relating to the provision of specific funding to support employment external to the University and beyond its control, the University will:

  • Advise those circumstances to the employee in writing at the latest time at which the notice would otherwise be required to be given; and
  • Give notice to the employee at the earliest practicable date thereafter.

Severance pay

10. If the University has decided not to offer a further fixed-term contract to an employee who was employed for the purposes of Research or for a Specific Task or Project, the University will pay to the employee a severance payment calculated in accordance with paragraph 11 provided that the employee:

  • is employed on a second or subsequent fixed-term contract for the purpose of a specific task or project, or for research and the same or substantially similar duties are no longer required by the employer; or
  • is employed on a fixed term contract for the purpose of a specific task or project, or for research and the duties of the kind performed in relation to work continue to be required but another person has been appointed or is to be appointed, to the same or substantially similar duties.

11. Severance payment entitlements will be calculated for a period of continuous fixed-term service as follows:

Period of continuous serviceSeverance pay
Up to one year: Two weeks pay
Over one year and up to the completion of two years: Four weeks pay
Over two years and up to the completion of three years: Six weeks pay
Over three years and up to the completion of four years: Seven weeks pay
Over four years: Eight weeks pay

* 'weeks pay' means the ordinary time rate of pay for the employee concerned.

12. If the University offers further employment to an employee otherwise entitled to a severance payment, and that employee refuses the offer of employment, then that employee is not entitled to a severance payment.

13. Where the University advises an employee in writing that further employment may be offered within six weeks of the expiry of a period of fixed-term employment, the University may defer payment of severance benefits for a maximum period of four weeks from the expiry of the period of fixed-term employment.

Calculation of continuous service

14. Breaks between fixed-term appointments of up to two times per year and of up to six weeks do not constitute breaks in continuous fixed-term service.

15. Breaks in service between one teaching session and the next will not constitute breaks in continuous fixed-term service.

16. Periods of approved unpaid leave will not count for service, but will not constitute breaks in service.

Termination payments due on contract conclusion

17. Termination payments will be paid at the rate of the employee's substantive salary at the date the contract concludes. However, where employees have been receiving salary allowances (excluding overtime and allowances such as first aid, shift penalties and allowances in lieu of shift penalties) for 12 months or more immediately prior to the conclusion of the contract, termination payments will be paid at the rate of the substantive salary plus the salary allowance.

18. Fixed-term employees are eligible for the following payments on cessation:

  • Annual leave - normally fixed-term employees are required to take their accrued annual leave before the conclusion of each contract. Any balance of accrued annual leave up to a maximum of eight weeks will be paid on cessation.
  • Leave loading - a pro-rata leave loading, calculated on the basis of working days of service from the preceding 1st January (or commencement date, whichever is the later) to the date of cessation.
  • Long service leave (LSL) - any accrued LSL owing on termination.
  • Severance payments in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12.

Return of University property

19. Employees are required to return all University property (eg. keys, library materials, equipment [including laptops, mobile phones and iPads], stores items, charge cards, SIM cards and deactivate mobile services) in their possession prior to the end of their contract.

Procedures

20. At least two months before an employee's fixed-term contract expires, HR Services will advise the Supervisor and request confirmation of the University's intention to renew or not to renew the employee's contract.

21. The work unit will inform the employee of the University's intention to renew or not renew their employment.

22. Where severance payments are applicable, the employee will be advised of payment details in a formal notice from HR Services. A copy of this advice will be sent to the appropriate Head of Work Unit for their information.

23. If the employee is to cease duty, a clearance report will be emailed to the work unit for completion prior to the employee's departure.

24. A completed clearance report is an audit requirement for all staff ceasing employment with the University. The completed form is maintained on the employee's file.