Kent's pay policy during this period of industrial action
12.03.2018 - University policy on pay deductions related to UCU action and related processes
University policy on pay deductions related to UCU action and related processes
The University has a long held position that it will not accept the partial performance of the contract of any member of staff and this current dispute is no different. Therefore, as a consequence, if you decide to take part in industrial action, you will generally not be entitled to your full contractual pay from the date when you start to participate in the action.
We regard the action called by UCU as going to the heart of the contract of employment for academic, teaching and research staff involved in student learning and teaching and that it would therefore affect the fundamental duties of such staff. Provision of lectures and classes is crucial to the student learning experience, and fundamental to the role of the institution. The planned action is intended to have a profound impact on our students and, in consequence, the University. Similarly, a refusal of professional services staff to comply with their contract of employment during a time of significant organisational stress and changing demands (as a result of the industrial action of academic colleagues) is anticipated to have a serious effect through the undermining the organisation’s potential ability to respond to the impact of the action and in providing essential operational business as usual support for our staff and students. For these reasons, EG and the Faculty Deans judge the action as having an immediate and very serious adverse effect on our students and the functioning and reputation of our University.
Impact on Pay
Where a member of staff, with the exception of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), chooses to take the planned strike action, the resulting breach of contract will lead the University to withhold 100% of pay. In respect of full-time salaried staff, this will be at a daily rate of 1/365th of annual salary (see below for deductions for other staff). These deductions will be made for any action taken after 15 February 2018.
Action Short of a Strike (ASOS)
In addition to strike action, UCU has declared Action Short of Strike (ASOS) in the form of working to contract, not undertaking voluntary activities, not covering absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures or classes missed due to the strike action.
Whilst the University considers some forms of ASOS to constitute partial performance of contract, which it rejects, there will be no deductions from pay for any staff participating in ASOS in the current period of industrial action.
It is important to note that rescheduling lectures or classes is a key requirement of the academic contract of employment and refusing to reschedule can have a significant impact on our students. Heads will therefore ask academics to reschedule lectures or classes on their return from each strike action, although as stated above there will be no deductions of pay relating to a refusal to reschedule those missed lectures. Where it is not possible to reschedule lectures or classes or provide cover, then other realistic alternatives should be considered that maintain the student educational experience (eg use of Kent Player).
This policy applies from 16 February 2018 and without prejudice to our right in future to deduct 100% of pay on an on-going basis (ie not for a single day but for every day where an individual continues to refuse to perform their full contract of employment) for partial performance in any future industrial action.
Position of Timesheet and Hourly-Paid Staff
Timesheet and hourly-paid staff who refuse an offer of work on strike days should not submit a claim for the hours to be paid. Instead, they should submit a form to record the hours they were scheduled to work but did not work, due to taking strike action. This form should be submitted as two original copies to the Head of School, who will sign to authorise as appropriate, with one copy retained by the member of staff and one by the Head of School. Completed and signed forms will act as an agreed record of work missed that is to be offered in future. Click here to open the Record of Hours Not Worked (hourly paid staff) form.
Timesheet and hourly-paid staff will be asked to reschedule activities, or offered other suitable alternative work where this is not practical, and the hours that would have been paid for the strike day will instead be paid for the rescheduled activity. Where the member of staff feels in the circumstances of the industrial action that they are not able to undertake the rescheduled activity, a further opportunity or suitable alternative work will be offered following the industrial action. In this way, timesheet and hourly-paid staff will be guaranteed the offer of additional hours to match any hours they lose through industrial action.
Part-time salaried staff who participate in strike action will have their pay withheld in the same way as for full-time staff, ie 100% of pay based on 1/365th of the individual’s actual part-time annual salary. However, for part-time staff who have a formally-agreed working pattern in which work is unevenly spread across their working days, the pay deduction may be pro-rated based on the actual hours they were due to work on a strike day subject to confirmation by the relevant Head of School or Director.
In exceptional circumstances and in agreement with the relevant Dean or Director, part-time staff may be offered the opportunity to work additional hours for which additional payments will be made.
Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)
There will be no deductions of pay for GTAs in respect of either strike action or ASOS called for by UCU.
It is for schools to schedule the hours of GTAs. Where a GTA strikes on a day that they were scheduled to have teaching contact hours (in accordance with the terms of their GTA contract) then they should submit a Record of Hours Not Worked form reflecting the hours due to be worked, but not worked. The benefit of completing this form will be to provide a record of teaching hours missed in the event that the GTA wishes, if possible, to have the opportunity of making up those lost teaching hours. This form, if completed, should be submitted as two original copies to the Head of School, who will sign to authorise as appropriate, with one copy retained by the GTA and one by the Head of School. Completed and signed forms will act as an agreed record of work missed that is to be worked at a later date by the GTA. Click here to open the Record of Hours Not Worked (GTAs) form.
The University will honour all arrangements and offers of work already made to GTAs and it is for GTAs to determine whether they wish to work in accordance with their contract or withdraw due to their participation in industrial action. Due however to the nature of the industrial action some seminars or other activities may not take place in the form originally planned (eg if a planned GTA led seminar is directly related to a cancelled lecture). In this event Schools/Supervisors will discuss with GTAs the activities that are able to take place instead.
Where a GTA was due to be marking on a strike day, they will be expected to reschedule the marking since they will have received payment for it.
Timing of Deductions
Please note that although the pay to be withheld for participation in strike days will relate to one or more particular month’s payroll run, it may not be possible to administer adjustments to pay by the payroll cut-off point for that month and therefore the proportion of pay withheld may fall into the subsequent month.
Pension Contributions, Pensionable Service and Life Assurance
The University is not obliged to make employer contributions to pension during industrial action when full pay is not being paid. The University has decided however that it will maintain both Employee and Employer Contributions to the scheme based on your normal full contractual and pensionable pay. This can only be done with your consent which you will be able to give when you complete your personal declaration of your participation in the UCU action (see below).
The maintenance of contributions by the University is unconditional although you will need to give your consent to our making employee contributions on your behalf by means of making a Declaration of Participation (see below) in the form required. We ask that you make this Declaration in a timely way at your earliest opportunity on your return to work following industrial action so that your pay can be accurately calculated.
In the event that you do not intend to give consent, then Death in Service cover will still be maintained by the USS on your behalf. In the event that you do not give consent to Kent maintaining your Employee Contributions you will need to make up those contributions at a later date(1) if you wish your pensionable service to be maintained.
Timesheet and other hourly-paid staff who are participating in the strike action but want the University to maintain their pension contributions on their behalf will need to do two things: firstly, they need to complete the on-line declaration form (see below) giving their consent to the University making the contributions; and secondly, they must also submit the relevant Record of Hours Not Worked form (see above) detailing the hours they would have worked on each strike day to the school or department, who will then authorise and pass the information to Payroll.
Process for Declaring Participation in Industrial Action
So that the impact on your pay can be managed efficiently with a minimal need to recover pay at a later date, and so that we can assess the impact of action on our students and the institution as a whole, any UCU member who intends to participate in the UCU action is asked to complete a “Declaration of Participation” together with the date on which they will first start to participate in both strike action and ASOS (although pay will not be deducted for ASOS). The relevant Declaration of Participation form and related guidance and information on its completion can be found here. We will also be asking schools and departments to check that the information provided is complete and where there are anomalies, to use other readily available mechanisms to identify participants so that pay can be stopped. For more information about the Declaration process visit: Declaration of participation in action
If you have any queries about this policy please visit the dedicated pages on the HR Website in the first instance where further information can be found about who to contact if you cannot find an answer there. The website also contains a “Frequently Asked Questions” area where more detailed information about the implications of this action on individuals can be found.
(1) For technical reasons, individuals wishing to make up their employee pension contributions will need to notify firstname.lastname@example.org before the payroll cut-off date for the month following the month in which the relevant strike action or ASOS took place