Policy

Secondments - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The University of Queensland encourages and supports staff secondments and the exchange of staff within The University of Queensland and between UQ and external organisations.

This policy outlines internal and external staff secondments and exchange.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

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

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017

Head - Head of organisational unit

Secondment – temporary transfer of staff

Job Exchange – secondment of two people to each other’s respective position

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy covers internal and external secondment of UQ staff and staff from external organisations who are seconded to The University of Queensland, and must be applied in conjunction with the Professional Staff Recruitment by Exception Strategy. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Professional Staff Recruitment by Exception Strategy will apply.

For the avoidance of doubt, associated entities of UQ are external organisations for the purpose of this policy.

This policy complements the Staff Development - Policy (PPL 5.80.01a) and the Performance of Higher Level Duties - Procedures (PPL 5.50.04b).

4. Policy Statement

Secondments can enhance the University’s overall performance by improving the transfer of information and ideas and by enhancing organisational relationships through increased understanding on the part of the staff involved. Secondments constitute a valuable staff development opportunity by providing fresh perspectives for the individuals concerned, as well as for the organisational units involved. Exchange of staff between The University of Queensland and another organisation may also enhance industry collaboration.

At the start of the secondment, the staff involved need to clearly state their objectives as to what development the secondment offers and the level of support that is required.

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to release their staff to take up secondment opportunities, where practicable, as a means of staff development. The impact on workforce planning, workloads and staffing arrangements must be carefully considered prior to approving any request.

A secondment should not be financially disadvantageous to the University.

Secondment opportunities are made available in accordance with the principles of Equal Opportunity and can only occur by agreement with the staff member concerned and their manager.

5. Categories of Staff Secondments

There are two categories of secondments:

  1. Internal Secondments - where a University staff member is seconded to another position at UQ.
  2. External Secondments:
  • Where a University staff member is seconded to an external organisation; or
  • Where a staff member from an external organisation is seconded to UQ.

6. Duration

Secondment opportunities will, in most instances, be for a period of up to 12 months.

Vacancies to be filled for longer than 12 months should not be offered as a secondment. Such vacancies must be advertised in accordance with the Recruitment and Selection Manual. Staff applying for vacant University positions of a duration in excess of 12 months would normally be expected to resign from their substantive position as a condition of accepting the appointment.

A secondment can only be extended beyond 12 months, for up to a second period of 12 months, in extenuating circumstances, with the consent of the Head of the organisational unit where the staff member holds a substantive position and with written approval from the Authorised Officer.

The duration of a secondment must not extend beyond the secondee’s contractual period of employment.

7. Internal Secondments

Secondment opportunities often become available throughout the University when an organisational unit cannot fill a temporary vacancy. This may occur, for instance, when staff take extended leave, are temporarily employed elsewhere or given other duties to be performed elsewhere, such as project work. Alternatively, an organisational unit may need a project or task to be completed.

University staff may also identify an opportunity to temporarily exchange jobs for a period up to 12 months with a colleague in a different organisational unit, where their respective substantive positions are classified at the same level.

7.1 Completion of internal secondment

On completion of the secondment, the secondee(s) will return to their substantive position within the University and should not expect to be eligible for another secondment within a 12 month period.

In the case of job exchange, the two exchanged staff will revert to their respective substantive positions at the end of the exchange period. However, provided both hold continuing appointments and both Authorised Officers, as well as the two staff concerned agree that they should not revert, their respective appointments may be varied on a permanent basis.

8. External Secondments

The University should consider requests for the secondment of staff from or to any appropriate organisation which is prepared to meet the salaries and associated costs of the staff member concerned for the period of the secondment.

8.1 Provisions for external secondment of UQ staff

The following provisions apply to the secondment of UQ staff to external organisations:

  1. The secondment arrangements will be contained in a legal agreement between the University and the external organisation to which the staff member is to be seconded;
  2. The UQ staff member who is seconded to another organisation will remain a staff member of The University of Queensland during the period of the secondment and The University of Queensland will normally be responsible for the continuation of salary and associated costs;
  3. The seconded UQ staff member will continue to be covered by the University’s Workers’ Compensation insurance (PPL 2.25.01a) during the period of the secondment.

8.2 Provisions for external secondment of staff to UQ

The following provisions apply where staff from external organisations are seconded to UQ:

  1. The secondment arrangements will be contained in a legal agreement between the University and the external organisation from which the staff member is to be seconded;
  2. The seconded staff member will remain a member of their home organisation which will normally be responsible for the continuation of salary and associated costs;
  3. The University of Queensland will not be responsible for any remuneration or other emoluments for work not associated with the secondment undertaken by the person seconded to UQ while at The University of Queensland;
  4. The person seconded to UQ will report to the designated supervisor of the organisational unit to which they are attached during the period of the secondment and will be subject to their direction;
  5. The person seconded to UQ will not be covered by the University’s Workers’ Compensation insurance and the existing arrangements through their substantive employer should continue to apply;
  6. Persons seconded to UQ are covered as volunteers for their legal liability arising as a result of them undertaking authorised University activity. They will be covered under the University’s Liability Protections including General and Products Liability, Professional Liability, Malpractice and General Clinical Trials.

9. Termination of Secondment Agreement

Subject to the terms contained in the secondment agreement, the University reserves the right to terminate the secondment agreement at any time without notice. In such circumstances, seconded staff revert to their substantive positions.

10. University Policies

Except as provided for in this policy, all relevant University policies, procedures and guidelines apply to the seconded UQ staff member.

A staff member from an external organisation seconded to The University of Queensland will be required to abide by all relevant University’s policies, procedures and guidelines during the period of secondment.

10.1 Internal secondment

In the event that a grievance or a matter of a disciplinary nature occurs during the period of secondment relating to a staff member on an internal secondment agreement, any necessary procedural steps will be undertaken by the supervisor to whom the secondee is temporarily reporting in consultation with Employee Relations and the staff member’s substantive manager.

10.2 External secondment

UQ staff on external secondment agreements will be governed by the provisions of that agreement.

Where a grievance arises during an external secondment the UQ staff member should follow the relevant grievance resolution policy in operation at the external entity.

The University can instigate misconduct/serious misconduct proceedings against a UQ staff member in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement if, following notification or information provided by the external organisation, they form the view that misconduct/serious misconduct may have occurred.

UQ can inform an external organisation if it is believed that a secondee from the external organisation may have engaged in behavior which constitutes misconduct/serious misconduct. In such circumstances, the external organisation can instigate the misconduct/serious misconduct proceedings which are applicable to the external secondee.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Procedures

Secondments - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 5.80.10a Staff Secondments – Policy.

These procedures does not impinge on the flexibility, provided by the Selection and Appointment - Internal Appointments - Procedures (PPL 5.30.07b), for the Authorised Officer to appoint an existing staff member directly to a vacant position on a temporary basis (12 months or less) if the position is of the same classification as the staff member’s substantive position.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

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

Head – Head of organisational unit

Secondment - temporary transfer of staff

Internal Secondment - where a University staff member is seconded to another position at UQ

External Secondment

  • where a University staff member is seconded to an external organisation; or
  • where a staff member from an external organisation is seconded to UQ.

Job Exchange – secondment of two people to each other’s respective position

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures cover internal and external secondment of UQ staff and the secondment of staff from external organisations who are seconded to The University of Queensland and must be applied in conjunction with the Professional Staff Recruitment by Exception Strategy. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Professional Staff Recruitment by Exception Strategy will apply.

For the avoidance of doubt, associated entities of UQ are external organisations for the purpose of these procedures.

4. Procedures Statement

These procedures provide the operational framework for internal and external staff secondment at The University of Queensland.

5. Internal Secondment

The Authorised Officer can appoint an existing staff member directly to a vacant position on a temporary basis (one year or less) without advertising, if the position is of the same classification as the staff member’s substantive position, in accordance with the Selection and Appointment - Internal Appointments - Procedures (PPL 5.30.07b). The Authorised Officer can also directly appoint a staff member from within their organisational unit to perform the duties of a higher level position, normally for a period of less than one year (PPL 5.50.4b Performance of Higher Level Duties - Procedures).

Where the Authorised Officer cannot readily identify an existing staff member at the same classification level as the temporary vacancy, or a staff member within their organisational unit suitable to act at the higher level, then the temporary vacancy may be advertised internally as a secondment opportunity.

5.1 Advertising

When a temporary vacancy for a period up to 12 months is not filled by direct appointment of an existing staff member holding a substantive position at the same classification level, and no staff member within the organisational unit is suitable to act at the higher level, the vacancy can be advertised as a secondment opportunity on the UQ Jobs website.

Staff interested in a secondment position should first discuss the opportunity with their supervisor. Whilst it is recognised that the supervisor may have workforce planning and/or workload concerns by releasing a staff member on secondment, supervisors are encouraged to support staff seeking to broaden their knowledge and skills.

5.2 Selection

The receiving supervisor and/or Authorised Officer must interview short-listed staff who fulfil the secondment position’s selection criteria.

5.3 Appointment

The Authorised Officer should, in the first instance, offer the position verbally to the successful candidate, subject to agreement on release and start date for the secondment with the releasing Head.

Normally, the releasing organisational unit will require a minimum period of notice prior to releasing the staff member to take up the secondment, of two weeks from the date the written offer of appointment is made. A longer period may be negotiated up to a maximum of four weeks, especially for higher level or highly specialised staff.

If the releasing supervisor or Authorised Officer cannot accommodate the secondment request, the Authorised Officer will meet with the staff member to explain the rationale for their decision. In that event, the Director, Human Resources may request a written explanation.

When agreement has been reached between organisational units, the receiving organisational unit must complete the relevant documentation to effect the secondment arrangement. The Human Resource Officer will produce a temporary variation of the terms of engagement letter to go to the staff member to confirm the secondment, including the start and end date. The staff member will be given a temporary placement in the Aurion Human Resource system.

If the Authorised Officer wishes the seconded staff member to take up a continuing appointment in the position without advertising, then the Selection and Appointment - Internal Appointments - Procedures (PPL 5.30.07b) must be followed.

5.4 Internal job exchange

Before approving a temporary exchange, the Authorised Officer must ensure that the two staff concerned meet the selection criteria for the positions involved.

Staff who wish to temporarily exchange jobs at the same classification level must submit a written proposal to their respective Authorised Officers.

The two Authorised Officers must confer. If they agree to proceed in principle, each Authorised Officer interviews the prospective exchange staff member, together with the direct supervisor for the exchange position where applicable, to confirm the suitability of the person for the position. Telephone reference checks with the substantive supervisor must also be made.

Once the staff proposing the exchange have been interviewed and both Authorised Officers have agreed to the arrangement, then the respective organisational units must submit a Staff Appointment form to the relevant Human Resource Officer to effect the secondment arrangement for the staff member being exchanged to their organisational unit.

The Human Resource Officer will produce a temporary variation of the terms of engagement letter to go to each staff member to confirm the exchange, including the start and end date. The staff members will be given temporary placements in the Aurion Human Resource system.

In most instances, the two staff will revert to their respective substantive positions at the end of the exchange period. However, provided both hold continuing appointments and both Authorised Officers and both staff agree, their respective appointments may be exchanged on a continuing basis. The respective organisational units must inform the relevant Human Resource Officer who will produce a continuing variation of the terms of engagement letter to go to each staff member to confirm them in their respective new substantive positions.

6. External Secondments

Authorised Officers have authority to approve external staff secondments on the recommendation of the relevant Heads of organisational units where applicable.

6.1 External secondment agreements

Agreements for external secondments are available from the Legal Office website. These secondment agreements can only be prepared by relevant Human Resources staff and must be completed before the secondment commences. The conditions of use are outlined on the Legal Office website.

The University has two Standard Secondment Agreements:

  • An agreement for the Secondment of staff from UQ; and
  • A Secondment of staff to UQ Agreement.

The agreements consist of:

  • Secondment Letter; and
  • General Conditions.

The delegate set out in the financial Delegations Table is authorised to sign the agreement on behalf of the University.

7. Funding

7.1 Internal secondment

The remuneration cost for a seconded staff member will, in most instances, be fully met by the organisational unit to which the staff member has been seconded.

7.2 External secondment

The funding arrangements for the secondment must be formalised in a secondment agreement drafted or approved by The University of Queensland’s Legal Office.

The University of Queensland will not be responsible for any travel and/or accommodation costs incurred by the staff member during the period of external secondment, except under exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Authorised Officer.

The University of Queensland will not be responsible for any hospital, medical or dental expenses incurred by a staff member undertaking an external secondment outside of Australia.

A staff member seeking an external secondment opportunity outside of Australia will be responsible for organising all relevant paperwork, visas and insurance prior to undertaking the secondment.

8. Leave

8.1 Leave entitlements for internal secondment

Flexitime or voluntary banked time accrued during the period of the secondment must be taken during the secondment.

Seconded staff may normally only access Recreation Leave entitlements accrued during the period of the secondment. Leave accrued prior to the commencement of the secondment arrangement will be maintained and can be accessed upon the staff member’s return to their substantive position. If agreed to by the Authorised Officer, the seconded staff member may access Recreation Leave accrued prior to the secondment. Applications for Recreation Leave follow normal University policy and procedures (PPL 5.60.10 Recreation Leave).

Staff who seek to take Long Service Leave during the secondment should negotiate the taking of such leave prior to accepting the secondment. Where approval has not been obtained prior to the commencement of the secondment, but it has been agreed that the staff member may access Long Service Leave prior to the intended conclusion of the secondment, this may result in the termination of the secondment. All other leave entitlements remain unchanged during the period of secondment.

8.2 Leave entitlements for external secondment

UQ staff who undertake an external secondment will have all their entitlements, e.g. Long Service Leave, protected during the period of their secondment as though they were in the full employment of the University, as the external organisation is expected to cover their University salary and on-costs.

Seconded staff may only access Recreation Leave entitlements accrued during the period of the secondment. Leave accrued prior to the commencement of the secondment arrangement will be maintained and can be accessed upon the staff member’s return to their substantive position. Applications for Recreation Leave must be made to and approved by the organisation to which the staff member has been seconded.

Requests for Long Service Leave during a period of secondment would not normally be approved.

Requests for Personal Leave accrued in the staff member’s substantive position will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

9. Conclusion of Secondment Agreement

At the conclusion of the secondment the staff member will provide their manager, if requested, with a summary of their experience and learning.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)