Long term global staff agreement procedure

Intent

Part of the RMIT University strategy is to be global. This encompasses attitude, action, presence, and may include working at global locations.

RMIT University recognises that in order to meet this vision and be a truly global competitive education institution having a policy and procedure for international work is crucial.

The intent of this procedure is to outline the terms and conditions to be considered and applied where staff are engaged to undertake a global agreement for a fixed term period of more than six months and up to three years.

The Long term global staff agreement procedure helps ensure that:

  • All parties of the long term global agreement are clear about their roles and responsibilities
  • Personal and commercial risk is minimised
  • Staff are suitably prepared
  • Staff are provided with support to assist them in their host location; and
  • Costs are considered in all cases.

Scope

This procedure is to be utilised by all RMIT University staff in Australia, where a staff member is, or plans to, undertake work internationally on behalf of RMIT University and its controlled entities for a fixed term period of more than six months and up to three years.

The terms and conditions included in this procedure are a guide only, and do not constitute a contractual entitlement for the staff member. Specific terms and conditions will be considered and communicated to the staff member for each long term global agreement.

Exclusions

This procedure does not apply if:

  • There are specific arrangements already in place (e.g. fellowships) which are governed by the terms and conditions of their funding.
  • An RMIT University staff member in Australia is undertaking work outside Australia during periods of leave such as research leave (academic staff), leave without pay or sabbatical leave (Vocational Education and Training staff).
  • An RMIT University staff member in Australia proactively applies for an offshore position with another RMIT University entity or an RMIT University partner.
  • Staff members are recruited in the location where the international work is to be undertaken.
  • Staff members are employed by an institution other than RMIT University as part of a partnership agreement with RMIT University.

Procedure steps and actions

1. Long term global agreement

For the duration of the global agreement, the staff member remains an employee of RMIT University in Australia. The staff member is assigned to the host location for a fixed term period of more than six months and up to three years.

The employment arrangement for continuing staff with RMIT University in Australia remains in place for the duration of the global agreement, however, the staff member will be on leave without pay from their position with RMIT University in Australia. For fixed term and casual staff the long term global agreement will replace the existing employment arrangement.

Prior to commencement Human Resources need to be contacted to put in place an appropriate employment arrangement for the long term global agreement detailing all employment terms applicable for the relevant period.

The global agreement cannot commence until the official offer or transfer paperwork has been signed by the staff member, the host manager, the home line manager (where required), and the applicable delegated authority.

2. Pre-arrangement

Hiring process

Recruitment, selection and direct appointment processes will be managed in accordance with RMIT University’s Recruitment and Induction policy.

Budget / costing approvals

A budget, setting out costing for the global agreement will need to be prepared and approved by the college/portfolio/school prior to the global agreement commencing. Human Resources should be contacted to assist with the projected cost of the relevant employment arrangement.

Arrangements for expenditure of monies associated with the global agreement should be set up in accordance with RMIT University’s Financial Policies and Procedures. As part of these arrangements a nominated person should be authorised to approve financial transactions associated with the global agreement.

Tax implications of the global agreement for RMIT University should also be assessed before the global agreement commences. The cost of obtaining any required advice will be charged to the applicable RMIT University entity or college/portfolio/school and sourced by Human Resources.

Employment Arrangement

Before leaving Australia, the staff member will be provided with an employment arrangement clearly outlining the terms and conditions of the global agreement. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Variation to existing employment arrangement or other documentation detailing terms of release / leave from RMIT University in Australia for the global agreement, including any changes to, or maintenance of, existing conditions
  • A position description outlining the accountabilities of the host location position
  • The planned duration of the international work in the host location, including the likelihood of any extensions
  • The expected working conditions and hours
  • Salary and allowances
  • Accommodation arrangements
  • Travel arrangements
  • Personal income tax arrangements
  • Insurance arrangements
  • Health & Safety requirements
  • Personal effects / household goods arrangements
  • If applicable, a repatriation plan indicating what the staff member can expect upon their return to RMIT University in Australia; and
  • The necessary immigration, visa and work permit requirements.

The fixed term employment arrangement will be confirmed in writing and subject to the staff member meeting and complying with the necessary immigration, visa and work permit requirements.

Orientation

Where required, the staff member will receive a formal orientation and job briefing (with a position description). The Staff Member will also be given information on relevant policies, procedures, and the agreement conditions applicable. The host manager will provide the staff member with information about the host location, safety and emergency procedures and contacts in the host location.

Human Resources will coordinate cultural awareness preparation, including information about the culture and traditions of the host location if applicable. This will assist the staff member in preparing for the global agreement and in raising awareness of the behaviours expected in the host location.

Dependent accompanying family members may also be provided with the appropriate briefings if applicable.

Passports, Visas and Permits

RMIT University will provide assistance to the staff member in obtaining any visa / work rights in the host location as required. RMIT University requires staff members to fully comply with all immigration laws in their respective home and host locations. Work outside of Australia on behalf of RMIT University must not be undertaken by a staff member without obtaining the necessary travel documents and liaising with Human Resources to ensure their visa and contract terms are coordinated in advance.

It is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure they (and any accompanying family members) have a passport that is valid for at least 12 months after their expected return date to Australia, and that they have a sufficient number of free pages in their passport. All costs associated with obtaining and / or renewing passports for the purposes of complying with this will be the individual staff member’s responsibility.

RMIT University will meet the cost of any visas, work and / or residence permits and other such documents required for the staff member for the purpose of the global agreement. The staff member will be responsible for completing the appropriate forms and providing relevant and accurate information to the required parties. Please note Visa/Work Permit options may limit the time in which the staff member can be located in the host location and therefore the length of the arrangement.

3. Remuneration

RMIT University aims to ensure that a staff member is not financially disadvantaged as a result of undertaking a global agreement. The staff member’s remuneration package will be determined based on a number of factors.

Payment of Salary

Human Resources will advise the staff member of how their salary will be paid. Payment will be made via the RMIT University Australia payroll where possible. Payment via a foreign payroll in the host location, and in the relevant foreign currency, may be required in order to meet legislative requirements in the host location.

Superannuation

Australian superannuation contributions may be maintained as per current home location entitlements. Please note that the potential tax benefits that can arise through superannuation salary sacrificing arrangements will not necessarily apply in the host location. As such, any superannuation salary sacrificing arrangements will cease from the commencement of a global agreement.

Staff members may require personal financial advice to discuss any individual financial implications that may arise where superannuation is maintained in Australia for the duration of their global agreement. Please note that each staff member’s circumstances may vary and staff should seek their own advice.

Incremental salary progression

Incremental progression of the staff member’s salary with RMIT University in Australia will apply in line with the RMIT Professional and Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement.

Cost of Living

A cost of living allowance (COLA) may be provided if the cost of living is deemed to be higher in the host location than in Australia. Human Resources will review the host and home location differences and determine if a COLA is applicable and if so the relevant amount of the allowance.

4. Taxation

Tax is an important issue to consider for all global agreements, and employer and employee tax obligations should be clarified before the appointment is finalised. The tax implications may affect the duration of the global agreement and structure of the remuneration package. The staff member should not be disadvantaged from a tax perspective as a result of undertaking a global agreement.

Taxation Briefing

For global agreements that are for a fixed term duration of more than six months, it is common that the staff member may have a tax obligation in the host location. The staff member will be provided with independent expert tax advice by RMIT University’s preferred tax provider on any taxation implications that may arise in Australia (pre departure consultation) and the host location (post arrival consultation).

Tax return assistance in Australia and the host country may also be provided by RMIT University’s approved tax provider if required.

5. Health & safety and insurance

Health & Safety

The staff member and their dependent accompanying family members should undertake a medical briefing and health check before departure to the host location. This is to determine the staff member’s medical fitness for the global agreement, to allow time for any medically recommended vaccinations to be completed and to provide relevant and necessary information concerning health / medical conditions in the host location.

A staff member with a pre-existing medical condition will require medical clearance to travel and work internationally, a letter from the staff member’s GP will need to be provided to Human Resources. Any medical treatment required for an existing condition should be completed prior to the commencement of the long term global agreement.

At completion of the global agreement, the staff member and their accompanying family members are encouraged to undergo a return health check.

RMIT University will reimburse the cost of all health checks and necessary vaccinations for the staff member and their accompanying family members of up to $500 per person for both pre and post agreement expenses upon submission of relevant receipts.

Overseas travel and health insurance

RMIT University will provide expatriate health insurance cover for an employee and their accompanying family members, when travelling with them, for long term global agreements (greater than 6 months). The cover will be maintained via RMIT University’s preferred supplier, the cost of which will be charged to the applicable RMIT entity or school/department.

The staff member will be provided with an application form and information pack.

If the staff member or accompanying family members require emergency assistance whilst the staff member is engaged on a global agreement, they should contact International SOS RMIT University’s provider of 24 hour advice and assistance for medical, security or other emergencies.

Work Cover Insurance

Work cover insurance requirements will be reviewed on a case by case basis to ensure adequate coverage for the staff member.

6. Travel

Travel to and from the overseas location

RMIT University will pay for all travel costs to and from the overseas location in accordance with RMIT University’s Travel policy.

7. Household effects and additional support

Household Effects

Reasonable and essential household and / or personal effects at an agreed quantity may be transported from the staff members home address to the host location, and back to the home address upon the staff member’s repatriation at RMIT University’s expense.

Items of unusual size, weight or nature such as motor vehicles, boats and pianos are specifically excluded. RMIT University will not pay for any costs incurred in relocating pets.

Guidelines for volume of household removal

Where a staff member is eligible to have essential household and / or personal effects transported at RMIT University’s expense to their host location, they will be eligible for the effects to be transported by either ship or airfreight.

Guidelines for each option are provided below:

Volume of removal (Ship)

Airfreight weight

Single

15m3

100kg

Couple

20m3

200 – 300kg

Family

20m3 + 5m3 per dependant

500kg

Competitive quotes for a door-to-door transportation service and insurance will be obtained through RMIT University’s preferred removals management supplier.

Removal Insurance will cover all household items except jewellery. Items of particular value (e.g. collectables, wine, antiques, etc) may need to be insured separately and will need to be brought to the attention of the removals management supplier during the quotation process. Any additional cost of insuring such valuable items will be borne by the staff member. Also, where the goods exceed the approved volume, the additional cost will be borne by the staff member and payment will need to be made directly to the removal management supplier. RMIT University will not cover the transport cost of pets or vehicles.

Please note that goods should not be shipped until any required visa / work permit documentation and employment arrangement has been obtained.

Customs and Duties

RMIT University will pay customs and other duties applying to effects which are transported as part of the global agreement. This will cover such costs incurred both at the start and end of the global agreement, and does not normally include items purchased whilst on the global agreement.

Relocation Allowance

A one-off relocation allowance may be paid to the staff member to compensate them for miscellaneous expenses that will be incurred in moving to the host location and not otherwise provided for elsewhere in this procedure.

Payment will be made to the staff member before their global agreement commences in accordance with the following amounts:

  • Staff member: AUD 700 or
  • Staff member and accompanying family members: AUD 1,000

Storage of Goods

RMIT University may reimburse reasonable storage expenses for personal belongings remaining in Australia (exclusions may apply).

8. Accommodation

Temporary Accommodation

If permanent accommodation has not been secured prior to the staff member’s global agreement commencing, RMIT University Australia will pay for the cost of temporary accommodation for a period of two weeks or until permanent housing is secured whichever is earlier.

Such temporary accommodation will be of a standard deemed reasonable and which would be expected in Australia under similar circumstances. RMIT University will also assist the staff member to find suitable housing in the host location if required.

Permanent Accommodation

An ongoing contribution to the cost of permanent accommodation in the host location may be provided to the staff member up to an agreed amount. The staff member is responsible for securing bonds, complying with the terms applicable to the accommodation (or other appropriate terms and conditions), including ensuring that the accommodation is left in a high standard of cleanliness, upon vacating the accommodation.

It is the staff member’s responsibility to make necessary arrangements for any property held in the home location during the agreement and arrange suitable accommodation at the end of the agreement.

9. Vehicle / Transport

The need for a vehicle for the long term global agreement will be assessed on a case by case basis. In some locations it is not necessary, practical or safe to provide a motor vehicle.

RMIT University will therefore take into consideration a number of options such as:

  • Local transportation arrangements; or
  • Subsidy for vehicle rental; or
  • Transportation allowance.

If the staff member decides to purchase a car in their host location it will be at their own individual cost and responsibility.

10. Leave

Public holidays

A staff member on a global agreement will be entitled to take any public holidays applicable in their host location.

Leave Entitlement

A staff member on a global agreement will be entitled to the annual leave entitlements of the host location.

The global agreement will count as continuous service for long service and sick leave purposes at RMIT University in Australia. It will be expected that annual leave accrued during the global agreement period will be taken during the global agreement period.

Sick Leave

Accrual of sick leave entitlements will be in line with the staff member’s host location policy.

Settling in / out leave

Staff members will be provided with paid leave to:

(i) Move out of their home accommodation and settle into their host location; and

(ii) Return to RMIT University in Australia at the end of the global agreement (if applicable).

The duration of the settling in / out leave will normally be up two days but may be extended based on specific requirements of the staff member and the global agreement.

Emergency / compassionate leave

In the event of a serious illness or death of an immediate family member (including the spouse’s immediate family), or other serious emergency situation, RMIT University will provide the staff member with three days of compassionate leave and return tickets to Australia (including accompanying family members). Depending on the circumstances this may be negotiated.

Home visit

For long term global agreements of a period of more than 12 months, the University will cover the cost of an economy return ticket to Australia once every 12 months for the staff member and their dependant accompanying family members. For the duration of the home visit staff members should use annual leave and no additional leave days will be provided. Where possible the home leave should be combined with a business trip to Australia.

Security / Language training / Cross-cultural training / Orientation

Depending on the host location, length of the global agreement and subject to approval by RMIT University, orientation, security briefings, language training and cross-cultural training may be provided in Australia prior to departure to the host location. Please contact Human Resources to assist with arrangements. An orientation briefing may also be provided upon arrival in the host location.

The extent of security / language training / cross-cultural training / orientation provided will dependent on the staff member’s familiarity with the host location.

Depending on the length of the global agreement, and subject to negotiation with RMIT University, an orientation visit may be approved for the staff member and any dependant accompanying family members.

11. Arrangement extensions

In the event that an extension to a long term global agreement is being considered a discussion with Human Resources is required to review any tax or visa implications or restrictions. Once approved by the delegated authority an addendum to the employment arrangement will be issued to the staff member outlining any revised or additional terms and conditions.

12. Termination conditions

A global agreement may need to be terminated early due to factors outside either the staff member, or RMIT University’s, control. In this case, if the staff member returns to Australia, all efforts will be made to place the staff member in an appropriate position in line with the classification and role undertaken prior to the commencement long term global agreement.

Termination of contract by staff member

If the global agreement is terminated at the request of the staff member, the staff member may be liable to repay the relocation costs in accordance with the staff member’s employment arrangement. This will be in line with the following scale, which is based on a three year contract:

  • Staff member resigns within 12 months: 70%
  • Staff member resigns within 2 years: 50%

In the event a staff member’s resignation, the University retains the right to not pay for the staff member and their accompanying family members return to Australia.

Early termination of Global Agreement

In the event of termination (excluding serious misconduct) of the long term global agreement by RMIT University, RMIT University will relocate the staff member and their accompanying family members back to Australia in accordance with the terms and conditions outlined in the staff member’s employment arrangement.

A global agreement may need to be terminated early due to factors outside either the staff member or RMIT University’s control (e.g. civil unrest or a natural disaster). In this case, if the staff member returns to Australia, all efforts will be made to place the staff member in an appropriate position.

13. Repatriation

RMIT University will provide the following on completion, or early termination of the fixed term employment arrangement:

  • Return flights to Australia
  • Relocation of household goods to Australia, equivalent to the amount transported upon commencement of the global agreement
  • Settling in leave and temporary accommodation for up to four weeks (if required)
  • Return health check (if required)
  • Repatriation tax consultation (if required)

[Next: Supporting documents and information ]