RMIT University Academic and Professional Staff Enterprise Agreement 2014


11. Fixed term employment

11.1

Without derogating from any entitlement under the employee’s contract or under a provision contained in this Agreement applicable to the employee on account of the employee’s continuous service, a fixed term contract employee, other than an apprentice or trainee, will be entitled to incremental advancement, notice, and severance as detailed in this clause.

11.1.1

A fixed term employee, who has a period of continuous service in a classification which has an incremental structure, will be entitled to progress through that structure in the same way as an employee engaged as a continuing employee in the same or similar classification under the Agreement.

11.1.2

The use of fixed-term employment will be limited to the employment of an employee engaged on work activity that comes within the description of one or more of the following circumstances:

(a) Apprenticeship or Traineeship: An apprentice or trainee employed pursuant to an apprenticeship or traineeship approved by the relevant State or Territory training authority.

(b) Discontinued Academic Programs: Where the University has taken a decision to discontinue or phase out a program or programs, and where the required work activity cannot be filled by redeployment, the University may use fixed-term employment where the work required is to meet commitments to students in the discontinued program/s provided that:

(i) The use of fixed term employment for this purpose will not exceed three years; and

(ii) The letter of offer of employment includes an undertaking that subject to demonstrated satisfactory performance and should the decision to discontinue the program/s be reversed or for any other reason the employee’s position or substantially the same position continue beyond a three year period, the employee will be offered that work for the period that it will continue or on a continuing basis.

(c) Early Career Development Fellowships: An Early Career Development Fellowship is a standard teaching and research academic position for a fixed term of up to three years appointed in accordance with clause 56.4.

(d) New Academic Programs: Where the University introduces a new program/s the future of which is uncertain and where the required positions cannot be filled by redeployment, the University may employ on fixed-term contracts staff whose work is in the new program/s, provided that:

(i) the use of fixed-term employment for this purpose will not exceed three years; and

(ii) the letter of offer of employment include an undertaking that should the program/s continue beyond a three year period, the employee, subject to demonstrated satisfactory performance, will be offered employment on a continuing basis.

(e) Performance Based Contract Employees: The University may employ on a fixed term contract of employment a performance based contract employee in accordance with Clause 14.

(f) Post-retirement contract: Where the employee has entered into a Post-retirement contract following normal retirement and where the employee has accessed superannuation benefits (or equivalent).

(g) Pre-retirement contract: Pre-retirement contract means a fixed term contract expiring on or around the relevant retirement date for an employee who has declared her or his intention to retire, provided that the use of fixed-term employment for this purpose will not exceed five years.

(h) Professional Experience Program: The University may offer fixed term employment for professional staff positions for up to two years duration to RMIT graduates to enable them to gain work-based experience in the area of their study, subject to a University cap of 15 at any one time. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander RMIT graduates will not be subject to this cap.

(i) Recent professional practice required: Where a course or program in professional or vocational education requires that work be undertaken by a person who has recent relevant practical professional experience, such a person may be engaged for a fixed period not exceeding three years. For the purpose of this paragraph sub-clause, professional practice will be considered as “recent” only when it has occurred within the previous two years.

(j) Replacement employee means an employee appointed to:

(i) Undertake work activity replacing a full-time or part-time employee or a number of employees for a definable period for which the latter is either on authorised leave of absence or takes a temporary reduction in time fraction or is temporarily seconded away from her or his usual work area; or

(ii) Perform the duties of:

(aa) a vacant position for which RMIT has made a definite decision to fill and has commenced recruitment action; or

(bb) a position the normal occupant of which is performing higher duties pending the outcome of recruitment action initiated by RMIT and in progress for that vacant higher duties position, or

(cc) a vacant position in an area which is being restructured provided that the use of fixed-term employment for this purpose will not exceed two years.

until a full-time or part-time employee is engaged for the vacant position or vacant higher duties position as applicable.

(k) Research: Research means work activity by a person engaged on research-only functions for a fixed term contract period not exceeding five years.

(l) Specific task or project: Specific task or project means a definable work activity which has a starting time and which is expected to be completed within an anticipated timeframe, including a period of employment provided for from identifiable funding external to RMIT, not being funding that is part of an operating grant from government or funding comprised of payments of fees made by or on behalf of students.

(m) Subsidiary to Studentship: Where a person is enrolled as a student (studentship), 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 sub-clause, that is work within the student’s academic unit or an associated research unit of that academic unit and is work generally related to a degree course that the student is undertaking within the academic unit, provided that:

(i) 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

(ii) fixed-term employment under this paragraph will not be made on the condition that the person offered the employment undertakes the studentship.

11.2

Where the University has made a determination to continue the position on either a further fixed term basis or a continuing basis, the employee will be given further employment in the fixed term or continuing position provided the employee was not employed in the category of 11.1.2 (f) or (i) and was employed in the relevant position through a competitive and open selection process and has performed at a satisfactory level and in the case of academic positions, the employee meets the requirements of the Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (MSALs) at the appropriate level.

11.3

Nothing in this clause prevents the University from employing an employee on a further fixed term contract where the employee was not initially employed through a competitive and open selection process but otherwise meets the requirements of the position.

11.4

The University will provide to a fixed term employee, who is employed in a position required for the circumstances described in clause 11.1.2 (d), (j), (k), (l) or (m) a written notice of the University’s intention to renew, or not to renew, employment with the University upon the expiry of the contract. Such notice will be the greater of:

(a) Any contractual entitlement to notice of the University’s intention to renew, or not to renew, employment with the employee upon the expiry of the contract; or

(b) Notice according to employee’s continuous service as detailed in the table below.

Period of continuous service

Period of Notice

Not more than 1 year

at least 1 week, or the equivalent of a full pay period, whichever is the greater

1 year but less than 3 years

at least 2 weeks, or the equivalent of a full pay period, whichever is the greater

3 years but less than 5 years

at least 3 weeks, or the equivalent of a full pay period, whichever is the greater

5 years or over

at least 4 weeks, or the equivalent of a full pay period, whichever is the greater

(c) In addition to this notice, an employee over the age of 45 years at the time of the giving of notice and with not less than two years continuous service will be entitled to an additional week’s notice.

(d) 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 this sub clause, it will be sufficient compliance with this sub clause if the University:

(i) advises those circumstances to the employee in writing at the latest time at which the notice would otherwise be required to be given, and

(ii) gives notice to the employee at the earliest practicable date thereafter.

11.5

A fixed term employee whose contract of employment is not renewed in circumstances where the employee seeks to continue the employment will be entitled to severance payment, in accordance with clause 11.7, if:

(a) the employee is employed on a second or subsequent fixed term contract for the circumstances described in clause 11.1.2 (d), (k), (l), and the same or substantially similar duties are no longer required by RMIT; or

(b) the employee is employed on a fixed term contract position required for the circumstances described in clause 11.1.2 (d), (k), (l) but another person has been appointed, or is to be appointed, to the same or substantially similar duties.

11.6

Where the University advises an employee in writing that further employment may be offered within five weeks of the expiry of a period of fixed term employment, then payment of severance benefits may be deferred for a maximum period of five weeks from the expiry of the period of fixed term employment. Provided that where the University offers such further employment at the same level or above no severance payment will be paid.

11.7

Severance payment entitlements for fixed term employees subject to clause 11.5 above will be calculated for a period of continuous service as follows.

Employee’s period of continuous service

Severance benefit

At least 1 year but less than 2 years

4 weeks

At least 2 year but less than 3 years

6 weeks

At least 3 year but less than 4 years

7 weeks

At least 4 year but less than 5 years

8 weeks

At least 5 year but less than 6 years

10 weeks

At least 6 year but less than 7 years

11 weeks

At least 7 year but less than 8 years

13 weeks

At least 8 year but less than 9 years

14 weeks

At least 9 years

16 weeks

11.8

A fixed term employee required to do work for the circumstances described in sub clause 11.1.2 (a), (b), (c), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (m) whose contract of employment is not renewed is not entitled to a severance payment.

11.9

A fixed term employee will be entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment as would apply to a full-time or part-time employee engaged in an equivalent classification and working an equivalent proportion of normal weekly ordinary hours for the classification.

11.10

For the purpose of this clause and for the purpose of determining which provisions under the Agreement apply to fixed term employees, breaks between fixed term appointments of up to two times per year and of up to six weeks will not constitute breaks in continuous service.

11.11

Periods of approved unpaid leave will not count for service, but will not constitute breaks in service for the purposes of this clause.

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