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Employment variations

Introduction

Employment variations occur when a full-time, part-time or fixed term employee:

  • Undertakes approved specific duties and responsibilities in addition to their normal work;
  • Relieves in a higher level position;
  • Is seconded to a temporary vacancy in another work unit; or
  • Increases or decreases their hours of work on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Employment variations are not appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • As a reward for good performance for work performed at the same level as the employee's substantive position;
  • As a long term measure where a job reclassification is more appropriate; or
  • When there is an increased volume of the tasks normally undertaken by the employee.

When a temporary variation is approved, an employee may return to their original substantive appointment. If a variation has been approved on a continuing basis, there is no right of return to the employee's former substantive position.

Delegations

The HR delegations are:

Relieving appointments and course coordination and unit assessing:

  • Head of Work Unit: up to and including 12 months (where a single variation or combination of temporary variations results in a maximum of 12 months continuous service).
  • Executive Member: exceeding 12 months (where a single variation or combination of temporary variations exceeds 12 months).

Variations in hours

  • Head of Work Unit: Temporary variations up to 12 months
  • Executive Member: Permanent variations

Additional responsibilities

  • Head of Work Unit (following consultation with the HR Business Partner): up to and including 12 months (where a single variation or combination of temporary variations results in a maximum of 12 months continuous service).
  • Executive Member (following consultation with the HR Business Partner): exceeding 12 months (where a single variation or combination of temporary variations results in 12 months or more continuous service).

Types of variation

Voluntary variation scheme

On 1 June 2020, the Vice Chancellor announced a scheme inviting staff to elect to reduce their working hours, as part of the University’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

A key feature of the Scheme is that the University will maintain the difference in staff members’ superannuation contributions (both employer and compulsory member contributions) to pre-variation levels.

The Voluntary Variation Scheme will be in place until 31 December 2020, but may be extended subject to review. Ideally, the duration of the variation should be no less than six months.

With approval from the relevant Head of Work Unit, a full-time staff member may elect to reduce their fraction to 90% or less.

If you already work part time, the Scheme may be used to further reduce your part time fraction. However the Scheme will not be used to replace existing temporary variations.

To participate, you will need to discuss this change with your Head of Work Unit and complete the Voluntary variation scheme form. The completed form is to be forwarded to HR Services by emailing hradvisor@scu.edu.au.

Frequently asked questions
Question:Response:
How does this effect my superannuation? The University will maintain the difference in superannuation contributions, for both employer and compulsory member contributions, at pre-variation levels.
Will my leave accruals change?  Whilst participating in the Scheme, leave will be accrued at the new part time fraction. 
How much will I get in my fortnightly pay?  Please contact Payroll Services on payroll@scu.edu.au. They will calculate based on your circumstances. 
I would rather not work a 9 day fortnight. Can I change how my hours are structured?  You should discuss this with your supervisor and make arrangements that work best for both you and your team. 
I already work part-time, what is the minimum I can reduce my hours to participate in the Scheme?  You will need to reduce your current hours by a minimum of 10%.    
Can I change the variation prior to the nominated conclusion date? Should you wish to change the terms of the variation, this will need to be done in consultation with your Head of Work Unit.

Relieving appointments

Relieving appointments may be a result of:

  • An employee being absent on leave or secondment;
  • A delay in a new appointee after the resignation of an employee;
  • The extended absence of an employee due to illness; or
  • An employee undertaking a project or planned staff development exercise.

Relieving arrangements are intended to be temporary and of short duration. They should not be used in lieu of filling substantive positions.

Employees will be paid a relieving allowance at the minimum salary for the equivalent higher level position where the relieving period is in excess of five consecutive working days.

Where an employee is performing part of the duties of the higher level position, a pro-rata payment may be payable based on the percentage of duties being performed at the higher level.

Superannuation is payable on the relieving allowance. 

Incremental progression within a higher level salary band is payable after 12 months continuous service. Any leave without pay in excess of five working days will defer the date of effect of an increment.

Procedures

A Temporary employment variation is completed by the work unit and funding approval is obtained before the variation is approved.

After approval, the employee completes the acknowledgement and acceptance and is provided with a:

  • Copy of the approved temporary employment variation form; and
  • List of duties to be undertaken during the relieving appointment.

The completed form is then referred to HR Services for processing.

Course coordination

Employees at Associate Lecturer or Lecturer level who are required to perform the full duties associated with course coordination will be paid a course coordination allowance to Level C Academic, Year 1.

Incremental progression does not apply to course coordination.

Procedure

A Temporary employment variation is completed by the work unit and funding approval is obtained before the variation is approved.

After approval, the employee completes the acknowledgement and acceptance and is provided with a:

  • Copy of the approved temporary employment variation form; and
  • Course Coordination role statement.

The completed form is then referred to HR Services for processing.

Unit assessing

An academic employee appointed to manage a unit of study in accordance with the Unit Assessor role statement will be paid an allowance to Level A Academic Year 6.

Payment is subject to the appointment as Unit Assessor being for a period of at least a full teaching session.

Procedure

A Temporary employment variation is completed by the work unit and funding approval is obtained before the variation is approved.

After approval, the employee completes the acknowledgement and acceptance and is provided with a:

  • Copy of the approved temporary variation form; and
  • Unit Assessor role statement.

The completed form is then referred to HR Services for processing.

Variation in hours

Employees may request a variation in their hours of work on a temporary or continuing basis and should initially discuss their request with their supervisor.

The requirements of the workplace will be taken into account when a request is considered. Approval will only be given if the workplace will not be adversely affected by the changes proposed.

Procedures

a. Temporary variations

A Variation in hours is completed by the work unit for:

  • An increase in hours:
    • Academic employees: up to a maximum of 12 months;
    • Professional employees: where the period of the variation is a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12 months (if a temporary increase is for less than six months, additional hours are approved and claimed through MyHR); and
  • A decrease in hours for up to a maximum of 12 months.

A funding check for an increase in hours is to be obtained before the temporary variation is approved by the Head of Work Unit.

After approval, the employee completes the acknowledgement and acceptance and is provided with a:

  • Copy of the approved variation in hours form; and
  • List of duties to be undertaken (if appropriate).

The completed variation is then referred to HR Services for processing.

b. Permanent variations

Where a permanent variation in hours is requested, a written request from the employee, together with a recommendation from their supervisor, should be referred to the relevant Executive Member for consideration. The date of effect of the permanent variation and, for professional employees, the daily hours of the proposed variation must be provided.

Where there is to be an increase in hours, a funding check is to be obtained before the variation is approved by the relevant Executive Member.

If the request is approved, the application is referred to HR Services for implementation and a letter of confirmation of the altered arrangements will be sent to the employee.

Secondments

A secondment is a temporary transfer to a vacant position in another work unit within the University. Secondments are generally initiated when an employee has been the successful applicant of an internal recruitment process.

The classification applicable during the secondment is specified in the advertisement and may be at the same or higher classification, on a full-time or part-time basis and normally for a maximum period of 12 months.

Where the secondment is tied to a higher salary range, incremental progression within a higher level salary range will be payable after 12 months continuous service. Any leave without pay in excess of five working days will defer the date of effect of the increment.

Procedure

Before applying for an internally advertised position, employees should discuss their intentions with their supervisors.

If successful, secondment arrangements including the possible requirement to relinquish the right of return to a substantive position at the end of the secondment period will be negotiated through HR Services and the work unit.

A letter of offer confirming the arrangements will be issued to the employee.

Additional responsibilities

Additional responsibilities allowances may be paid on a temporary basis where it is recognised an employee is performing additional duties in excess of their substantive appointment level (other than relieving in a position of a higher classification). Additional responsibilities allowances will not be paid where a classification review of the position is pending or proposed.

The rate of the additional responsibilities allowances is not always tied to a salary rate and may be negotiated with the employee, depending on the duties being undertaken.

Procedures

Where the Head of Work Unit is considering payment of an additional responsibilities allowance, the circumstances are to be discussed with their HR Business Partner in the first instance.

If it is agreed an allowance is appropriate, the HR Business Partner will advise the process to be followed to arrange payment.

Effect on entitlements

Employees working less than full-time will be paid on a proportionate basis to a full-time employee of the same classification and salary step for the period of the variation and will also accrue leave entitlements on a pro-rata basis.

Employees should contact HR Services to discuss any implications the variation will have on their superannuation contributions and entitlements.

Payment during periods of leave

Employees will continue to receive approved allowances during periods of paid leave, with the exception of special studies leave, if the allowance has been approved for a period of six months or more.

Payment of approved allowances will not be paid during periods of paid leave where the allowance is payable for a period of less than six months. If the allowance is subsequently extended beyond six months, payment will be made during periods of paid leave taken after the initial six month period has been served.