Probation

Probation

13. PROBATION

Application

13.1 This clause will apply to Staff Members who commence employment with the University on or after the date of commencement of this Agreement. If a Staff Member is subject to a probationary period under clause 3.5 of the Macquarie University Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement 2014 at the date of commencement of this Agreement, that process will continue to apply.

Probationary period

13.2 On commencement of either continuing or fixed term employment a Staff Member may be subject to a reasonable probationary period appropriate to the nature of the work being undertaken and in accordance with the table below:

Nature of appointment

Probationary Period

First continuing employment

Normally up to 2 years with a maximum of 3 years including any extensions

First fixed term employment

Up to 2 years

Second or subsequent continuing appointment

A probationary period may be considered but usually will not apply

Second or subsequent fixed term appointment to the same or substantially similar position

Probation will not apply

Secondment or transfer

Probation will not apply

Promotion

Probation will not apply and the Staff Member will have their appointment confirmed from the date of effect of the promotion.

13.3 If an assessment of performance cannot be made due to a Staff Member taking a period of approved leave other than annual leave (e.g. leave without pay, personal leave, parental leave) that is greater than 4 weeks then the end date for probation may be extended. The Director, Human Resources, on a recommendation from the Executive Dean, may approve to adjust the probationary period to provide the Staff Member with a total probation period equivalent to that specified in the instrument of appointment.

Setting performance expectations during the probationary period

13.4 Within two months a Staff Member’s commencement of employment, the Supervisor and the Staff Member will meet to discuss the standard of performance that is to be met during the probationary period.

13.5 The Supervisor will hold review meetings with the Staff Member throughout the probationary period at intervals appropriate to the nature of the work being undertaken and the length of the probationary period, provided that where the probationary period is greater than 12 months meetings are scheduled at least annually.

13.6 The Supervisor may use the University's Performance Development and Review process to guide probation review meetings.

Reviewing performance during probationary period

13.7 The Supervisor will provide regular feedback to the Staff Member during the probationary period and hold review meetings. These meetings will provide an opportunity for the Supervisor to discuss the Staff Member’s progress including, if necessary, identifying and addressing any performance concerns.

13.8 If the Supervisor identifies performance concerns, then the Staff Member will be given an opportunity to address these issues. The Supervisor will document feedback, review and improvement requirements and provide a copy to the Staff Member.

Probation outcomes

13.9 The Supervisor will undertake a final probation review meeting and advise the Staff Member of their recommendation on the outcome of the probation process no later than one month prior to the expiration of the probationary period. The Supervisor may:

(a) make a recommendation that the Staff Member is confirmed in the position. In these circumstances, the Supervisor will forward a written report to the Executive Dean for approval; or

(b) if performance or conduct concerns have been identified but not resolved, the Supervisor may make a recommendation to terminate the Staff Member’s employment during the probationary period, provided that the following conditions are met:

(i) compliance with subclause 13.5; and

(ii) if the concerns relate to performance, the Staff Member has served at least half of probationary period in order to have had a reasonable period to demonstrate performance.

13.10 The Supervisor will provide a written report to the Executive Dean setting out the reasons for the recommendation to terminate employment.

13.11 The Executive Dean will review the recommendation report and make a final determination.

Notice periods

13.12 If the Staff Member’s employment is terminated within probation, the Staff Member will be entitled to notice (or payment in lieu) in accordance with the table below:

Length of appointment and probationary period

Period of Notice (or payment in lieu)

Fixed term appointment of 1 year or less, irrespective of length of probationary period

The lesser of 1 month or to the end of the fixed term appointment

Continuing appointment or fixed term appointment of more than 1 year where the probationary period is less than or equal to 6 months

2 months

Continuing appointment or fixed term appointment of more than 1 year where the probationary period is greater than 6 months but less than or equal to 12 months

4 months

Continuing appointment or fixed term appointment of more than 1 year where the probationary period is greater than 12 months

6 months

Appeal Process

13.13 A Staff Member with a probationary period of more than one year may appeal against a decision made under subclause 13.11 to terminate their employment. The Staff Member must lodge an appeal within 5 working days of notification of the decision.

13.14 An Appeal Committee, constituted by the Director, Human Resources, will consider the appeal. The Committee will consist of:

(a) a nominee of the Director, Human Resources (Chair);

(b) a Staff Member nominated by the Chair of Academic Senate from a pool of staff endorsed by Academic Senate;

(c) a Staff Member nominated by the NTEU.

13.14 The Committee will report on whether the procedural steps of this clause were followed. In its consideration, the Committee may request written or verbal information from the Staff Member, Supervisor and Executive Dean. The Staff Member may be represented by a Representative in the appeal process.

13.15 The Committee will provide a report to the Director, Human Resources prior to the end of the Probation period.

13.16  Upon receipt of the report from the Committee, the Director, Human Resources will consider the report and make a determination to either:

(a) confirm the employment of the Staff Member;

(b) extend the probation for a further period; or

(c) terminate the Staff Member’s employment.

Serious Misconduct during the probationary period

13.17 Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the employment of a Staff Member within their probationary period may be terminated at any time for Serious Misconduct (as defined by subclause 47.6), provided that the following procedures are followed:

(a) the University will provide the Staff Member with written allegations; and

(b) the Staff Member will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations, including raising any mitigating circumstances. Any response from the Staff Member should be in writing and provided within five working days.

13.18 The Director, Human Resources will convene a Review Committee to consider the allegations and the Staff Member’s response (if any). Before reaching a decision about the proposed disciplinary action, the Director, Human Resources will consult with the Committee about whether the conduct constitutes serious misconduct.

The Review Committee will comprise:

(a) a nominee of the Director, Human Resources (Chair);

(b) a nominee of the University;

(c) a nominee of the NTEU.

13.20 If, following the steps under subclauses 13.17 and 13.18, the University proposes to terminate the employment of the Staff Member, the Director, Human Resources will:

(a) advise the Staff Member of the decision regarding the action proposed to be taken;

(b) invite the Staff Member to advise in writing any matters that they want the Director, Human Resources to take into account in making a decision about what disciplinary action is to be taken. Any such response must be provided within five working days of the invitation. The Director, Human Resources will also invite the Staff Member (and their Representative if they so choose) to attend a meeting to discuss the matter;

(c) consider any matters brought to their attention by the Staff Member when deciding what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken.

13.21 If disciplinary action is to be taken, the Director, Human Resources will advise the Staff Member of the decision and of the operative date of any disciplinary action to be taken.

13.22 If the Director, Human Resources determines to terminate the employment of the Staff Member the period of notice will be as determined under clause 53, Termination of Employment.

13.21 Where a decision to take action has been made in accordance with this clause, no further appeal can be made within the University. Nothing in this clause will be construed as excluding the jurisdiction of any external court or tribunal which would be competent to deal with the matter.

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