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Victorian Catholic Sector
Memorandum of Understanding
Appendix 1: Redundancy Guidelines
REDUNDANCY PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION IN VICTORIA
These Procedures of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) Ltd replace the Redundancy Procedures promulgated by the CECV in 1997. The Victorian Catholic Education Multi Employer Agreement 2008 contains the procedures to be followed. This document amalgamates the procedures and guidelines into one document.
The Procedures and Guidelines apply to all workplaces in Catholic Education. Notwithstanding, some employees are covered by, contracts and agreements which place legal obligations upon employers.
The Procedures and Guidelines have been designed to ensure a consistent and fair approach to be applied to all in Catholic education. The full co-operation of all parties is essential therefore for all engaged in the providing of advice to schools to work together to help the situation reach a satisfactory conclusion.
For the purpose of these Procedures, a potential redundancy situation applies where any member of staff could be disadvantaged in his or her current employment contract as a result of changes in funding, curriculum, enrolment decline, or as a result of policy/administration changes. Those procedures, when followed override the employer’s obligation to consult in accordance with the introduction of change clause in the CEMEA.
The objectives of these Procedures and Guidelines, in order, are to:-
(i) avoid redundancies in Catholic schools in Victoria;
(ii) delay redundancies where this is not possible and
(iii) facilitate those declared redundant to find other suitable employment within Catholic education so that they do not suffer financially as a result of being declared redundant.
With this in mind it is the intention of the C.E.C.V. that these procedures be applied as early as possible. This also allows the appropriate consultation to occur and the provision of notice where applicable.
The timelines are a guide only. They are based on the assumption that a redundancy will take effect from the beginning of a school year and that the information upon which a potential redundancy is identified is available early in the year previous to the redundancy. Where a situation arises in other circumstances (e.g. as a result of student elective choices late in a school year, or unanticipated enrolment decline in the February census) the timelines contained in this document may not apply and the school will notify the parties as soon as the potential redundancy situation is identified so that Step 1 can commence.
a : Role of the Diocesan Catholic Education Offices
In order to achieve the aims outlined above, the Diocesan Catholic Education Offices will assist staff to find on-going employment where: -
(i) schools have declared individual staff members redundant,
or (ii) the school has announced its closure,
or (iii) the school has announced that it is amalgamating with another school/s.
The Diocesan Catholic Education Offices will consult with the parties on a regular basis as to :-
(i) the number of redundancies still remaining
and (ii) the ways that have been employed to assist staff find on-going employment.
b : Interviews
Where an application is made for a vacant position in a Catholic school in Victoria, and :-
(i) the applicant has the qualifications and experience to fill the vacancy
and (ii) the applicant identifies that he/she has been declared redundant from another Victorian Catholic school
then the school should interview the applicant for the position.
c : Vacancies
While a situation of potential redundancy exists in Catholic education in Victoria, every school which has a vacancy for an ongoing position is encouraged to advise the Diocesan Catholic Education Office of such a vacancy.
As a service to schools, the Diocesan Catholic Education Offices will circulate a list of these notifications on at least a fortnightly basis.
PROCEDURES FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION IN VICTORIA
STEP 1 - THE REDUNDANCY IDENTIFICATION (AND INVESTIGATING WAYS OF AVOIDING A REDUNDANCY)
(a) In each year as soon as a potential redundancy situation is identified at the school level, the Employer/Principal shall communicate this fact to the staff, in writing, with an outline of the reasons for the potential redundancy.
(b) A copy of this notification shall be forwarded at the same time to VIEU, CECV, PAVCSS and the relevant country Diocesan Director. The notification to CECV will be provided to the Director CEOM.
(c) A copy of these procedures is also to be given to each staff member.
This step to take place by the end of the third week of the third term where the redundancy would be effective at the end of the year.
The timeline is an indication of the latest date at which it is expected that the staff are informed of the potential redundancy. It is to be noted that the staff are to be informed as soon as the school identifies the potential redundancy in that year.
As soon as a potential redundancy situation is resolved at the school level, the Employer/Principal shall communicate this fact to the parties.
Attachment 1 is the letter of notification to staff. A copy of the notification must be given to each staff member, including those on leave, and should also be placed on the staff notice board.
Attachment 2 is the letter to be forwarded to VIEU, CECV, PAVCSS and the relevant Diocesan Director, at the same time that the notification to staff is issued.
After the staff have been notified in writing the school should commence procedures to resolve the potential redundancy.
In investigating the alternatives available, a written record shall be held of the information obtained and the efforts made to ascertain any way of resolving the problem.
Attachment 3 is the information pro forma that may assist in avoiding the redundancy or, where this cannot be achieved, deciding the persons to be declared redundant. It should be attached to the Attachment 1 letter with the information included, except for stated intention and staff comment. The staff member should amend it if necessary, and sign it and return it to the Principal. The Principal should check and verify the returned copy and meet with any staff member who seeks an appointment. A written record of any such meeting should be kept by the Principal.
A staff member may indicate on this Attachment 3 that they are willing to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant. It is important that staff be informed that if they indicate a willingness to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant, that this may or may not be taken into account as a factor in the Step 3 redundancy meeting. As a result, staff should be informed of the need to seek advice before indicating a willingness to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant.
Where a redundancy is confined to Teachers only or Non-Teachers only, the Attachment 1 letter may be sent to this class of employee only.
Included in the alternatives that the Employer/ Principal should investigate are the following:
a) What efforts can be made to re-deploy existing staff within the school;
b) Staffing requirements in all other schools under the authority of the present employer;
c) The possibilities of employment of staff in neighbouring schools;
d) Any additional funding that may be available, e.g. additional government funding, parish support;
e) Retraining possibilities;
f) Possible leave arrangements e.g. Leave Without Pay, Long Service Leave, Parental Leave,
g) Applications by staff indicating that they are willing to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant.
When staff are asked what their intentions are for the period concerned (e.g. the following year) it should be noted that it is unacceptable for staff to be pressured into applying for positions elsewhere because it may be seen that the school has pre-empted the necessary consultative and deliberative processes in later steps.
The information in Attachment 3 is to assist the Principal for planning purposes and should not be used in lieu of standard resignation/employment practices.
If the redundancy is avoided by a suitable alternative then Attachment 4 is the letter to be sent to all the parties named above, outlining the way in which the problem has been solved. No further STEPS need be taken.
STEP 2 - THE REDUNDANCY DOCUMENT
If the potential redundancy is not solved, the Principal will send either :-
(a) a redundancy document to all the parties mentioned above. The contents of this document are outlined below.
(b) a notification that a voluntary redundancy and/or an offer of ‘leave without pay’ has been accepted. Attachment 4 can be used for this notification.
The Employer's/Principal's document is to be sent to the parties at the beginning of the third last week of third term, but must be received by the parties at least three working days before the date of the Step 3 meeting.
The development and distribution of the school's redundancy document is the responsibility of the Employer/Principal. The document will include the following information:
a) The Reasons for the Potential Redundancy
The Employer/ Principal should outline the reasons why the problem exists. Information such as funding, staffing and enrolments (past, present and projected) are factors which are important. Issues such as Funding, Staffing and Curriculum change should also be mentioned where relevant.
b) The Number and Categories of Staff Likely to be Affected
The teaching and/or non-teaching areas where the redundancy is likely to take place and the numbers of staff involved are identified.
c) The Number of Staff Employed and Details of their Employment
Names of all staff will be listed on Attachment 3. Each staff member must be given an opportunity to verify that the information on the form is fair and accurate.
d) Alternatives Investigated
i) the possibilities of redeploying staff within the school;
ii) information re staffing requirements (e.g. vacancies) in all schools under authority of employer;
iii) information about vacancies in neighbouring schools;
iv) information about any extra funding available including attempts made to seek such funds;
v) the possibility of re-training;
vi) possible leave arrangements.
vii) Indications by staff that they are willing to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant
e) Special Funding to Tide Over a Redundancy Gap
Where it is known that only a small gap of over-employment may occur, it is desirable to consider whether funding can be arranged to tide over this gap. The school should outline to the parties the efforts it has made to address this possibility.
1. This document is forwarded to the parties mentioned in Step 1 of the Procedures and a meeting arranged in accordance with Step 3. Attachment 5 is the letter to be used in this instance.
2. Section C of this document remains confidential to the parties.
STEP 3 - THE REDUNDANCY MEETING
(a) A meeting will be held between the relevant parties to consider the Employer's/Principal's redundancy proposal.
(b) The parties will seek to agree on the criteria to be applied.
(c) Given agreement on both the criteria to be applied and the redundancy proposal, the Employer/Principal shall indicate to the parties at the meeting the name/s of the person/s to be declared redundant. The person/s so named shall be informed within a week of the meeting by the Employer/Principal.
(d) In the event of the disagreement by any party with any of these stages, that party shall indicate to the meeting why there is disagreement. Failing resolution, Step 3 (e) will apply.
(e) A second meeting will be held to attempt to resolve the disagreement arising in Step 3 (d).
(f) If agreement cannot be reached as a result of the meeting in Step 3 (e), the Employer/Principal shall inform the parties at the meeting of the action that the Employer/Principal intends to take.
(a) The actual time and place will be decided by mutual agreement between the parties and the Employer/Principal, but the meeting is to take place between the Monday of the second last week of third term and the Friday of the first week of fourth term, the school holiday time to be included).
(b) The meeting outlined in Step 3(e) will take place within one week of the meeting in Step 3 (a).
The relevant parties mentioned in Step 3 of the Procedures shall be VIEU, CECV, PAVCSS and country Diocesan Director.
The following outlines possible criteria which the parties will take into consideration and criteria which may not be put forward.
DECIDING WHO IS TO BE DECLARED REDUNDANT
A. Identify the needs of the school.
B. Identify the work currently being performed which will no longer need to be performed due to redundancy.
C. Identify those staff who, if declared redundant, could not be replaced by any member of the existing staff having regard to the programs planned for the period after the redundancy; i.e. new staff would have to be employed if that person (s) was declared redundant.
D. The Employer /Principal will nominate the factors (from those below ) which have been considered in determining the staff member (s) to be declared redundant, from those staff members not included in step C above. The Employer /Principal will advise those attending the meeting of the factors and any priority that has been applied to these factors
. Current Contract of Employment
. Current Duties
. Curriculum Programs
. Funding Base for Staff Member
. Graduate Status
. Length of Service
. Pastoral Considerations
. Previous Redundancy History
. Specialist Expertise
. Staff member’s willingness to make a voluntary offer to be declared redundant
E. Factors which cannot be used:
1. Person is a Union Representative / Union Affiliation
2. Person's Sex, Marital Status, Age, Pregnancy
3. Person's Lifestyle
4. Person's Competence or Otherwise, or Suitability or Otherwise
5. Person's Religion
STEP 4 - NOTIFYING THE REDUNDANCY RESULT
The parties attending the meeting in Step 3 are notified in writing of the details of the Employers action following Step 3.
The notification must be forwarded to the parties within two weeks of the meeting in Step 3.
If the notification is for 15 or more employees, then the CES should be notified in accordance with the Australian Workplace Relations Act (1996) (Section 660).
Attachment 6 is the letter to individual members of staff (given to that employee at a meeting with the Principal/employer) confirming a declaration of redundancy. The employer when informing the employee that they have been declared redundant shall also inform the employee of the forms of assistance that they can offer to the employee. (e.g. time off to attend interviews) as well as an offer of Leave Without Pay for the following school year.
Should an employee take up the offer of Leave Without Pay, then the Principal should send the employee a letter offering Leave Without Pay as per Attachment 10 and notify the parties as per Attachment 11.
Should an employee provide a reason why their employment should not be terminated as a consequence of redundancy, which is :-
(a) acceptable to the employer then the process should revert to Step 3
(b) unacceptable to the employer then the employer should respond in writing stating that the reason is unacceptable. This letter is included as Attachment 7
Attachment 8 is the letter to be forwarded to the parties following Step 3, which advises of the ultimate outcome of the matter.
STEP 5 - ASSISTANCE IN RE-EMPLOYMENT
(a) The principal forwards a letter (Attachment 9) to the relevant Director of the Catholic Education Office requesting that the Director make available appropriate assistance to the employee and that the Director notify other schools.
(b) During the period of notice the principal should :-
(i) with the agreement of the staff member/s declared redundant, contact neighbouring Catholic schools and CEO Offices to facilitate employment of the staff member;
(ii) where agreed, meet regularly with the staff member/s declared redundant, to discuss pastoral and professional issues;
(iii) provide time release to the staff member/s declared redundant to attend interviews.
(c) Leave Without Pay
(i) prior to the redundancy payment being forwarded to the employee/s, the employee/s should be offered Leave Without Pay (Attachment 10) for the following school year, thereby deferring the date of termination of the employee/s declared redundant.
1. If the employee/s accepts the offer of Leave Without Pay, the Principal shall notify the parties (Attachment 11);
2. Should a position become available in the school during the period of Leave Without Pay, for which the employee has appropriate skills and qualifications, the employee should be advised that the position exists. If the employee wishes to remain on the period of Leave Without Pay, the position will be held open until the expiration of the period of Leave Without Pay.
(ii) Where an employee/s has accepted an offer of a period of Leave Without Pay to defer the date of termination, and there has been no change in the potential redundancy situation, then
1. in the last week of the third term of the following school year, the Principal shall notify the parties that they intend to proceed with the notice of termination (Attachment 12);
2. if the Step 3 meeting is not re-convened, then at the expiration of the period of Leave Without Pay, if the employee has not obtained alternative employment in Catholic education, the employee shall receive the appropriate redundancy payment.
(i) The letter notifying the Director of the CEO should be sent immediately following the declaration of the redundancy and consultation with the staff member/s affected;
(ii) The offer of Leave Without Pay to employees declared redundant should be made as early as possible during the period of notice;
(iii) The letter notifying the parties of an acceptance of an offer of Leave Without Pay should be sent immediately;
(iv) The letter notifying the parties of an intention to proceed with the notice of termination on the expiration of a period of Leave Without Pay should be sent in the last week of the third term of the school year in which the Leave Without Pay is taken;
(v) The payments to staff declared redundant, who accept a period of Leave Without Pay, should be sent at the end of the 3rd week of the term following the expiration of the period of Leave Without pay.
Attachment 9 is the letter to be used to notify the relevant Director of the Catholic Education Office requesting that the Director make available appropriate assistance to the employee.
Attachment 10 is the letter offering a period of Leave Without Pay.
Attachment 11 is the letter notifying the parties of the acceptance, by an employee declared redundant, of an offer of Leave Without Pay.
Attachment 12 is the letter from the Principal notifying the parties that they intend to proceed with the notice of termination on the expiration of a period of Leave Without Pay to defer the notice of termination by redundancy.
Attachment 14 is a schedule of agreed Redundancy Payments which are made to the employee if they do not obtain a position in another Catholic School/Catholic Education facility.
STEP 6 - VARIATIONS TO THE STEP 4 NOTIFICATION AND REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS ADVICE
PROCEDURES & TIMELINE & GUIDELINES
The parties attending Steps 3 (a) and/or (e) are notified in writing of:
(a) VARIATIONS TO THE STEP 3 MEETING RESOLUTION.
Any variation (s) to the resolution to the redundancy which occur after the STEP 4 notification should be sent to the parties immediately.
Attachment 3 is the letter to be used for such a notification. Where this occurs, the school should state in the letter whether the resolution (e.g. temporary leave without pay) implemented is only a temporary resolution and that the declaration of redundancy still stands if another resolution is not found during the period of temporary relief.
(b) FINAL REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS
Where no resolution to the redundancy situation can be found, then the Principal should notify the parties as to the amount and date of redundancy payment made to any person/s made redundant.
Payments to staff declared redundant should be 15 working days after the termination of employment as a result of the redundancy declaration taking effect.
Attachment 13 is the letter to be used for a this notification and this should be sent immediately after the payment has been made.
Attachment 14 is a schedule of agreed Redundancy Payments which are made to the employee if they do not obtain a position in another Catholic school/Catholic education facility.