Fixed term employment
10. FIXED-TERM EMPLOYMENT
10.1 Fixed-term employment means:
(a) employment for a specified term or ascertainable period including Seasonal Employment, 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 years.
10.2 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 prior to the specified term:
(a) during a probationary period in accordance with clause 13, Probation of this Agreement; 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, misconduct or serious misconduct; or
(d) by abandonment of employment.
10.4 For the purpose of this clause, breaks between fixed-term appointments of up to 3 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 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 5 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 an authorised leave of absence or is temporarily seconded or appointed away from their usual work area or position; 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 sub-clauses 10.6 – 10.10 below.
(e) Other Circumstances
Where a work unit identifies any other circumstances where employment is to be for a fixed period. Any application for appointment under this circumstance will be supported by a written justification and will be subject to approval by the Director, Human Resources. Employment under this circumstance is limited to a contract or contracts that will not exceed 3 years.
(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 sub-clause 10.11 below.
(g) Apprenticeship or Traineeship
Where a Staff Member is engaged pursuant to an apprenticeship or traineeship by the relevant state or territory training authority.
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 contract 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 Sub-clause 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 sub-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.
Notice of Cessation or Re-offer of Fixed-term Employment
10.12 A fixed-term Staff Member may be offered a further fixed-term appointment, provided that appointment is consistent with sub-clauses 10.5 – 10.11. Unless such an offer is made and accepted, or the Staff Member’s employment is terminated earlier in accordance with sub-clause 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.
10.13 Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-clause 10.12, where the University determines that the work being performed by a Staff Member employed under a fixed-term contract identified as “Other Circumstances” will continue for more than 3 years, and the Staff Member was appointed through a competitive selection process, the Staff Member will be offered continuing employment in the position. The University will not fail to offer further employment in order to avoid the obligation under this clause.
10.14 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 6 months.
10.15 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 sub-clause 10.14 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; and
(b) gives notice to the Staff Member at the earliest practicable date thereafter.
Severance Pay for Fixed-term Staff Member
10.16 Where a fixed-term Staff Member is terminated prior to the expiry of their fixed-term contract in accordance with sub-clause 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 retrenchment benefit payable under sub-clause 45.12.
10.17 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 sub-clause 10.19 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 position was HEW Level 9 or above; or
(d) the Staff Member was on a pre-retirement contract.
10.18 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.
10.19 Where a Staff Member is entitled to a severance payment in accordance with sub-clauses 10.17 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
10.20 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.
10.21 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 10.19 but will not constitute breaks in Continuous Service.
10.22 Where the University advises a Staff Member in writing that further employment may be offered within 6 weeks of the expiry of a period of fixed-term employment, the University may defer payment of severance benefits for a maximum period of 4 weeks from the expiry of the period of fixed-term employment.
Conversion from Fixed-term to Continuing Employment
10.23 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.
10.24 The University will not unreasonably refuse an application for conversion and will respond to an application within 4 weeks of receipt. If an application is declined, the University will provide written reasons for declining it.
10.25 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.
10.26 The provisions of sub-clause 10.23 do not apply to fixed-term contracts for positions above HEW Level 9, Step 2.