43. Workplace Change

  1. Professional staff collective agreement
    1. The University will manage workplace change in a transparent and constructive manner so as to avoid and minimise any adverse effects on employees, while ensuring that the University is able to adapt appropriately to changing strategies, plans and circumstances. The views of staff and the Unions will be valued and taken into account by the University.
    2. Many changes that take place in the workplace can be relatively minor and, as a consequence, will be addressed at the workplace level through direct local discussion and consultation with employees and/or the School/Cost Centre with a view to reaching agreement on mutually acceptable solutions and alternatives.
    3. Employees who are likely to be affected by major change, together with the Unions, will be meaningfully involved in the consideration of change proposals throughout the process. This includes all stages, from the development of a formal proposal to implementation issues once the change is determined. The University will include employees who are on leave in the consultative process.
    4. Major workplace change is where it is anticipated that one or more of the following may occur:
      • redundancy/ies; or
      • a targeted reduction in the workforce within a School/Cost Centre which will have a significant impact on that School/Cost Centre; or
      • significant changes to the composition, structure or size (including outsourcing) of the workforce not including reporting line changes; or
      • the restructuring of work required of employees which may result in a negative impact upon employees collectively within a School/Cost Centre or across more than one School/Cost Centre of the University.
    5. Changes to rosters or ordinary hours of work do not constitute a major work place change, but require consultation with the employee and their representative. This matter is covered under Clause 16 Ordinary Hours of Work.
    6. The University will use every effort to avoid forced retrenchments. Where practicable, the University will achieve reductions through appropriate voluntary measures as outlined in sub clause 43.15.
    7. Consultation

    8. The consultation period is the period before a final decision is made, where employees and the Unions are given the opportunity to:
      • express their views on the proposed change,
      • provide alternative options to the change, and
      • have real and meaningful input into the change process and the final decision.
    9. Employees and the Unions will have a consultation period of a minimum of ten (10) working days. This may be extended up to a maximum of 20 working days at the request of affected employees, the Unions or the University.
    10. For a major workplace change, the University shall initiate a consultation process which will include the distribution of a draft workplace change document to those employees that may be directly affected by the proposed major workplace change and the Unions. Distribution will occur no less than three full working days prior to the initial meeting, in accordance with sub clause 43.10.
    11. An initial meeting will be organised by the University to present, discuss and respond to the proposal and alternatives and to discuss implementation and measures to avert or mitigate negative impacts on employees. Affected employees shall be provided with reasonable opportunity to attend meetings.
    12. An additional meeting, or meetings, will be organised by the University if requested by an affected employee or a Union.
    13. The draft workplace change document will include all relevant information about the change proposed, including, but not limited to:
      • the nature of and rationale for the change, including objectives and aims;
      • the potential benefits for staff and possible adverse effects on staff, including transfers, redundancies or redeployments, outsourcing equity impact; workload implications, training and professional development issues;
      • measures for averting or mitigating any potentially negative impact on employees including any workload implications;
      • relevant financial information;
      • organisational charts and position descriptions; and
      • the timeframe for the proposed change process.
    14. The consultation period may be extended beyond twenty (20) working days by UNE.
    15. Development of responses to the change proposal will be considered to be part of normal duties.
    16. At the point during the consultation process that it becomes clear that forced redundancies may be required, the University will provide employees with an opportunity to apply in writing for any measures which may mitigate any negative impact on employees. Such voluntary measures may include but are not limited to leave without pay, voluntary conversion to part time employment (for a specified period of time unless otherwise agreed), long service leave, secondment, internal transfer, voluntary separations, or natural attrition. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, employees will be advised of the outcome of their application before the consultation process is completed. Nothing in the consultation phase will preclude employees from also being offered in the final workplace change plan any voluntary separation or other measures which may mitigate any negative impact on employees.
    17. Final workplace change plan

    18. Following the consultation period, the University shall give prompt and genuine considerations to matters raised by affected employees and the Union(s), in relation to the discussion paper and meeting(s) held. The University shall explore all reasonable options and wherever reasonably practicable, adopt options to avert job losses.
    19. The University shall distribute the final workplace change plan to all affected employees and the Unions. The final workplace change plan will include all relevant information in accordance with sub clause 43.12 and will respond to matters raised in the consultation process and include reasonable timeframes for implementation.
    20. Implementation of the change may then commence.
    21. Existing continuing employees shall continue to hold the position where the duties of a position are not significantly changed.
    22. Where the duties of a position are significantly changed, or there are new position/s created, potentially “displaced” employees will be considered first for those positions prior to commencing a recruitment process.
    23. Displaced employees will be considered for other vacant continuing positions in the University at the same level where placement is not possible in accordance with sub clause 43.20. No vacant position will be advertised without first assessing whether there are any “displaced” employees on the transfer/redeployment list.
    24. Where placement is not possible in accordance with sub clauses 43.20-43.21, a displaced employee will be offered redeployment or redundancy in accordance with clause 46 and clause 47.
    25. Where a new position cannot be filled by a displaced employee, (or where it cannot be otherwise filled by a person in the redeployment “pool” with the appropriate skills), the position/s may be advertised externally.
    26. Fair, transparent and objective criteria will be used to place employees in remaining positions.
    27. An employee potentially facing retrenchment may seek, and will then be provided with:
      1. access to appropriate support from within the University to assist in seeking alternative employment; and/or
      2. up to one day a week (plus travel time), without loss of pay, to attend job interviews or other job search activities, with further leave subject to the approval of the relevant supervisor.
    28. Where expenses to attend such interviews are not met by the prospective employer, the employee will be entitled to reasonable travel and other incidental expenses incurred in attending such interviews as determined by the Vice-Chancellor.
    29. At any time during a change process, where potential redundancies have been identified, employees will be encouraged to seek professional financial advice regarding their options. To assist in this decision-making, the University will allow employees to meet, during work time, with a qualified financial planner/accountant and will reimburse costs to a maximum of $250 upon the presentation of an invoice/receipt.
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