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Updated staff FAQs: PS fixed term contracts and academic probation

27 Mar 2020

Staff FAQs will be updated regularly

This advice is correct at the time of publication of this news article.

If you have health concerns then you should refer to the NHS website as recommended by Public Health England, however to make other queries regarding the current situation you can email coronavirus-info@manchester.ac.uk.

We will be updating the staff frequently asked questions on a regular basis.

The latest questions are:

I work in the Professional Services (PS) and am on a fixed term contract which is due to come to an end soon – what will happen to me if I’m unable to apply for jobs as a redeployee whilst staff recruitment is suspended?

These are unique and unprecedented times which mean that we have had to pause staff recruitment with immediate effect, apart from in very rare circumstances if a strategically important appointment needs to be made.  Any posts which were being advertised on or before Tuesday, 17 March will continue to be advertised until their closing date.  Anyone who has applied for these jobs will be sent a holding email to explain that recruitment is now paused and no shortlisting or interviews for these jobs will be carried out. 

PS colleagues on fixed-term contracts will continue to work – the majority from home - until the end of their current contract.  It is expected that most contracts will not be extended beyond this point and the existing process under the Contracts of Employment Policy and Procedure will apply.  Where individual consultation is required this will be done virtually. Only in rare circumstances where a role is considered to be of strategic importance to the University will extensions to fixed term appointments be approved.  This approach applies across central and Faculty PS teams until further review at the end of this academic year.

For colleagues working on externally-funded research projects, where a new award requires the appointment of a new PS staff member, recruitment should be deferred in line with the funder’s position on start and finish dates for recent awards. Where funding is in place for the extension of the fixed-term contract of an existing PS staff member, and the project is (and will continue to be) minimally disrupted by the coronavirus situation, permission may be granted more frequently. Only in very exceptional circumstances will consideration be given to extending contracts for these staff members where full funding is not in place.

I am an academic member of staff who is on probation – how is my probation period affected by the current suspension of face-to-face teaching and closure of non-essential facilities on campus?

The Probationary arrangements for newly appointed academic staff remains unchanged and academic probation will remain in place.  This should be managed in line with existing policies and procedures however contact between members of staff and their probation supervisor and mentor will have to take place virtually rather than face-to-face.

For those staff in their third year of probation, confirmation in post can be decided by the School Promotions Committee if the individual has met their objectives, in line with the policy. For those staff in their third year of probation who have not met all objectives and would in normal circumstances have their period of probation extended into a fourth year, this will be decided by the School Promotions Committee, in line with the policy.

For those staff in their fourth year of probation, confirmation in post can be decided by the School Promotions Committee if the individual has met their objectives, in line with the policy. For those staff in their fourth year of probation who have not met their objectives the School Promotions Committee can decide to decline confirmation in post.  

Individual members of staff will continue to have the rights of appeal as set out in the procedure and appeals will be dealt with by the Faculty Promotions Committee.

In cases where individual members of staff, at any stage of probation, are unable to work on their objectives, for example if they are involved in supporting the NHS, or if they are unable to carry out work without access to University facilities, a decision can be taken by the School Promotions Committee to suspend the probation, in the same way as would be the case for maternity leave for example, in line with paragraph four of the policy.  Where this is the case the probation will be suspended for a defined period of time which should be confirmed in writing.  

More information