Fixed term employment
10. FIXED TERM EMPLOYMENT
10.1 Fixed term employment means:
(a) employment for a specified term or ascertainable period, for which the instrument of appointment will specify the starting and finishing dates; or
(b) employment in connection with a specific task or project, which will terminate upon the occurrence of a specified contingency related to the task or project not normally in excess of (3) three years.
Contracts for fixed term employment may be offered as Full-time Employment or Part-time Employment. Where Part-time Employment is offered, the offer of employment made by the University will specify the fraction of ordinary hours of work for which employment is offered.
10.3 Fixed term contracts may be terminated by the University:
(a) during a probationary period in accordance with clause 13, Probation; or
(b) when, in accordance with Clause 44, Managing Change in the Workplace, it is identified that the Staff Member’s position has become redundant because non-recurrent funding essential to the employment ceases or the work is no longer required to be undertaken; or
(c) for cause based on unsatisfactory performance in which case the University will pay the Staff Member four months salary; or
(d) for cause based on serious misconduct; or
(e) by abandonment of employment.
10.4 For the purpose of this clause, breaks between fixed term appointments of up to three months in total in any 12 month period will not constitute breaks in Continuous Service.
Restriction on Use of Fixed term Appointments
10.5 Any fixed term contract entered into following the commencement of this Agreement must come within the description of one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) Specific task or project
A definable work activity that has a starting time and is expected to be completed within an anticipated timeframe not normally in excess of three (3) years. Without limiting the generality of that circumstance, it will also include a period of employment provided for from funds external to the University, i.e., funding that is not part of an operating grant from the Government or funding comprising fees paid by or on behalf of students.
Work activity by a person engaged on research-only functions for a contract period not exceeding five years.
Work activity by a person engaged to:
(i) replace a full-time or part-time Staff Member for a definable period during which the replaced Staff Member is on authorised leave of absence, OSP or is temporarily seconded or appointed away from their usual work area or role; or
(ii) fulfil the duties of a vacant position that the University has made a definite decision to fill and has commenced recruitment action until a Staff Member is engaged for the vacant position; or
(iii) fulfil the duties of a position that is temporarily vacant because the normal occupant is performing higher duties pending the outcome of recruitment action initiated and/or in progress by the University for that vacant higher duties position until a Staff Member is engaged for the vacant higher duties position as applicable;
(d) Pre-retirement contract
Where a Staff Member declares that it is their intention to retire, a fixed term contract expiring on a mutually agreed date may be adopted as the appropriate type of employment and subject to the conditions under subclauses 10.6 – 10.10 below.
(e) Post-retirement contract
Where a person who has retired from the University or another university and is eligible to access their retirement benefit from the relevant superannuation fund may be engaged for a limited period of time. Such employment contracts will be used primarily for the purpose of research degree supervision and be of a maximum four years duration.
(f) Enrolled Student
Where a person is enrolled as a student, employment under a fixed term contract may be adopted as the appropriate type of employment for work activity, not within the description of another circumstance in the preceding paragraphs of this clause, that is work for which the student is appropriately qualified and subject to the conditions set out in clause 10.11 below.
(g) Recent professional practice
Where a Staff Member is engaged because the curriculum in a professional or vocational education program requires that the work be undertaken by a person who has recent practical or commercial experience.
(h) Disestablished Organisational Area
Work in an area that is performing one or more functions or teaching one or more programs where the University has made a decision to cease these activities within a reasonably certain time. Where part or all of an organisational area is to be disestablished, a fixed term contract of up to 2 years, with the possibility of a further 1 year appointment, may be offered under this category and subject to the conditions under clause 10.12 below.
(i) New Organisational Area
Work in a new organisational area, function or program where the prospective need or demand for which is uncertain or unascertainable at the time of establishment of the new area, function or program, in which case fixed term employment may be offered for up to 3 years.
(j) Convertible Level A Appointments
An appointment by a competitive selection process at Level A of an individual who has completed their PhD during the 12 months prior to an offer of appointment or is due to complete (i.e. meet the requirements for) a PhD in the 12 months following appointment. The appointment will be for no less than two (2) years, but no more than three (3) years and subject to the conditions under subclauses 10.13-10.16 below.
(k) Sudden unanticipated rise in student enrolments
An appointment on a fixed term basis may be offered for work in an academic unit where there is a sudden unanticipated increase in enrolments. In this circumstance fixed term employment may be offered for up to three years and subject to the conditions under clause 10.17 below.
(l) Early Career Fellowships (ECFs)
Level A or Level B teaching and research or research-only appointments of two years' duration and subject to the conditions under clauses 10.18 – 10.19 below.
10.6 The University and a Staff Member may agree to enter into a pre-retirement contract that will expire on a mutually agreed date. Such contracts will be made in accordance with University requirements in place from time to time.
10.7 If a Staff Member enters into a pre-retirement contract, it will be on the basis of a fixed term contract with no expectation of further employment at the cessation of the contract. A Staff Member may express an interest in a pre-retirement contract and should discuss the proposed terms of the contact with their Supervisor in the first instance. The proposed terms may include variations to hours of work or duties performed, financial transition to retirement, leave, or other transition arrangements.
10.8 Subclause 10.3(b) will not apply to the termination of pre-retirement contracts.
10.9 A Staff Member, who accepts the offer of a pre-retirement contract, will not be eligible for a severance or redundancy payment prior to entering a contract made under this clause or on cessation of the pre-retirement contract unless such payments are specified in the pre-retirement contract.
10.10 It is the Staff Member’s responsibility to seek independent financial advice.
10.11 Employment under this category may be offered provided that:
(a) such fixed term contract employment will be for a period that does not extend beyond, or that expires at the end of, the academic year in which the person ceases to be a student, including any period that the person is not enrolled as a student but is still completing postgraduate work or is awaiting results; and
(b) that an offer of fixed term employment under this category will not normally be made on the condition that the person must enrol as a student.
Disestablished Organisational Area
10.12 If the University reverses its decision to discontinue functions or teaching of programs then, subject to satisfactory performance and original appointment through a competitive selection process, the Staff Member will be offered continuing employment.
Level A Convertible Appointments
10.13 The original term of a Level A Convertible Appointment may be extended for any period of parental leave taken that is greater than 12 weeks;
10.14 The probation period for these appointments will be no more than four months;
10.15 Staff employed under this circumstance may apply for promotion in accordance with the University's Promotions Policy in place from time to time. Staff who successfully apply for promotion to Level B before the end of their contract will be offered a continuing appointment at Level B effective from the date of promotion. If a Staff Member is unsuccessful in gaining promotion to Level B the term may be extended by 12 months by the Executive Dean. In this case the Supervisor and Staff Member should develop a program of work that reflects feedback received from the Promotions Committee;
10.16 The University may employ up to twenty (20) Staff at Level A in a calendar year under this circumstance.
Sudden Unanticipated Rise in Student Enrolments
10.17 If the enrolments persist at the increased levels beyond three years then, subject to satisfactory performance and original appointment through a competitive process, a Staff Member will be offered continuing employment.
Early Career Fellows (ECF)
10.18 Appointment to an ECF will be on merit through a competitive selection process. Where a Faculty advertises an ECF it will develop an appointment process that will include a call for applications and a selection panel that includes a Head of Department. Eligibility to apply for ECFs will be restricted to casual Staff Members who have:
(a) been awarded a PhD and performed casual teaching work for the University in at least 3 entire teaching periods, over the last 5 years; or
(b) been active candidates for their PhD for at least 2 years and performed casual teaching work for the University in at least 5 entire teaching periods, over the last 5 years.
10.19 At the end of the ECF, an assessment will be made as to whether a further fixed term appointment of two years will be made. A further appointment will be subject to an assessment of the Staff Member's satisfactory progress and the continuing need for the work being performed as evidenced by the subjects or like subjects continuing, or further research funding being available.
Notice of Cessation or Re-offer of Fixed term Employment
10.20 A fixed term Staff Member may be offered a further fixed term appointment, provided that appointment is consistent with subclauses 10.5 – 10.19. Unless such an offer is made and accepted, or the Staff Member’s employment is terminated earlier in accordance with subclause 10.3, the Staff Member’s employment will end on the specified end date or occurrence of the contingency specified in the contract of employment. Where the University makes a determination to continue a position with the same or substantially similar duties, or where there have only been inconsequential changes to the position, the Staff Member will be offered further fixed term employment in the position provided that:
(a) they were initially appointed through an externally advertised competitive selection process; and
(b) they are demonstrating satisfactory performance in all aspects of the position; and
(c) in the case of substantially similar duties, the University is satisfied that they have the capacity to meet any new duties or competencies that may be required.
10.21 The University will provide to a fixed term Staff Member written notice (including by email) of 5 weeks of its intention to offer, or not to offer, further employment with the University upon the expiry of the contract except where:
(a) the Staff Member is on a pre-retirement contract; or
(b) the Staff Member is on a first fixed term contract of less than six months.
10.22 Where, because of circumstances relating to the provision of specific funding to support employment, external to the University and beyond its control, the University is not reasonably able to give the notice required by subclause 10.21 above, it will be sufficient compliance with this clause if the University:
(a) advises those circumstances to the Staff Member in writing at the latest time at which the notice would otherwise be required to be given under subclause 10.21, and
(b) gives notice to the Staff Member at the earliest practicable date thereafter.
Severance Pay for Fixed term Staff Member
10.23 Where a fixed term Staff Member is terminated prior to the expiry of their fixed term contract in accordance with subclause 10.3 (b), the University will pay the Staff Member the lesser of:
(a) the salary which the Staff Member would have received if they had continued employment until the expiry of the fixed term contract; or
(b) the voluntary redundancy benefit payable under subclause 45.15.
10.24 A fixed term Staff Member whose contract of employment is not renewed at the expiry of the contract will be entitled to a severance payment in accordance with subclause 10.27 below, except where:
(a) the Staff Member was employed on a first fixed term contract; or
(b) the Staff Member was offered but did not accept a further offer of employment; or
(c) the Staff Member was replacing another Staff Member on leave or secondment from the workplace; or
(d) the Staff Member was on a pre-retirement contract.
10.25 A Staff Member will also be entitled to the severance in subclause 10.27 where they are employed on a fixed term contract for the circumstances described in subclause 10.5 (a) or (b) and the duties of the kind performed in relation to the work continue to be required but another person has been appointed, or is to be appointed, to the same or substantially similar duties.
10.26 The University, in a particular case, may make an application to the Fair Work Commission to have the severance payment entitlement varied if it obtains acceptable alternative employment for the Staff Member.
10.27 Where a Staff Member is entitled to a severance payment in accordance with subclause 10.23 or 10.24 above, the following payments will apply:
Staff Member’s period of continuous service
with the University on termination
At least 1 year but less than 2 years
At least 2 years but less than 3 years
At least 3 years but less than 4 years
At least 4 years but less than 5 years
At least 5 years but less than 6 years
At least 6 years but less than 7 years
At least 7 years but less than 8 years
At least 8 years but less than 9 years
At least 9 years but less than 10 years
At least 10 years
10.28 Where a fixed-term Staff Member with between 5 and 10 years of Continuous Service is entitled to a severance payment, they will be entitled to a payment in lieu of long service leave calculated at the pro-rata rate of 2 months for 10 years of Continuous Service.
10.29 Casual employment, approved unpaid leave and/or periods of continuing employment prior to commencing a fixed-term contract will not count as Continuous Service for the purposes of sub-clause 10.27 but will not constitute breaks in Continuous Service.
10.30 Where the University advises a Staff Member 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.
Conversion from Fixed term to Continuing Employment
10.31 A Staff Member on a fixed-term contract may apply to convert their employment to continuing employment in their current position provided that the following criteria are met:
(a) the current contract is the second or subsequent consecutive fixed-term appointment for the Staff Member; or
(b) the period of fixed-term employment has exceeded a continuous period of 3 years; and
(c) the Staff Member was originally appointed following a competitive, merit-based selection process; and
(d) the Staff Member is demonstrating satisfactory performance in the position.
10.32 The University will not unreasonably refuse an application for conversion and will respond to an application within four (4) weeks of receipt. If an application is declined, the University will provide written reasons for declining it.
10.33 When considering an application for conversion the University must be satisfied that continuing work of the same or substantially similar duties and requisite funding is available.