Employment of Relatives and Other Close Associates - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this policy is to outline the University’s position on employing relatives and close associates of staff.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all University staff who are involved in the employment of staff.

4. Policy Statement

Staff must avoid any conflict of interest in the appointment and management of or interactions with a near relative, close friend, spouse, partner or personal associate in the same organisational unit or elsewhere in the University, in accordance with the principle of Integrity under the University’s Code of Conduct (PPL 1.50.01).

A conflict of interest can arise where a staff member makes or participates in employment decisions affecting another person with whom the staff member has a personal relationship, such as a near relative, spouse, partner, close friend or personal associate. Where such a conflict arises, staff must declare the interest and withdraw themselves from the situation if possible, or otherwise adhere to the provisions of this policy.

5. Selection and Appointment of Staff

All staff appointments must be made on the basis of merit against the selection criteria for the position. Nepotism is not permitted and may be treated as misconduct.

The Recruitment and Selection Manual states that when making an appointment the University may seek to assist the partner of the successful candidate, if possible, to find employment. However, the partner’s selection will be based on merit and the University will not undertake to find a position which has not been advertised.

All vacancies for positions to be filled must be advertised in accordance with the University’s Recruitment and Selection policy (PPL 5.30.01a).

5.1 Long term appointments (one year or more)

A staff member with a conflict of interest must declare it and is not to chair the selection committee to fill such vacancies. Also, the staff member would not normally be a member of the selection committee, unless special expertise is required or the staff member will be the supervisor for the position. In either case, the chairperson must approve participation and ensure probity in the conduct of the selection process. This is particularly important where the nature of the funding for the position or research to be undertaken necessitates the appointment of a person with particular and specific skills or capabilities, without advertising.

5.2 Short-term (less than one year) and casual appointments

Positions to be filled for one year or less, especially casual vacancies, may not be required to be advertised. Often a pool of suitable candidates can be readily sourced by word of mouth, or local advertising on noticeboards or staff and student email lists. However, where the candidates being considered for a short term appointment include a near relative, close friend, spouse, partner or personal associate of a staff member within the organisational unit, that staff member must declare a conflict of interest and is not to make the appointment decision. In addition, if the staff member with such a conflict of interest seeks to recommend the appointment of the person concerned, the Authorised Officer must take the advice of another independent member of staff, or form a selection committee to ensure probity, before making a decision.

6. Management of and Interactions with Other Staff

The University policy on Personal Relationships in the Workplace (PPL 1.50.04a) states that personal relationships should not intrude, be seen to intrude on or influence practices in the workplace, and is intended to minimise the likelihood of such a situation emerging. Staff who work with relatives or close associates must be particularly cognisant of this policy, maintain professional demeanour and declare possible conflict of interest in line with the policy.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury
Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury