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Professional Development and Performance Planning - Secondment Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure describes the processes and rules that Victoria University (VU) will use to facilitate:

  1. the temporary movement of staff to roles in different parts of the University or to external organisations; and,
  2. the temporary movement of staff of other organisations to roles within the University.
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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) Nil.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to all fixed-term and continuing staff of the University.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(4) Nil.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(5) Professional Development and Performance Planning Policy

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Staff Member Advise their supervisor of their interest in accepting the internal or external secondment as soon as practical.
Provide all required documentation and sign Agreements.
Abide by the notice requirements specified in clause (12).
Manager / Supervisor (Substantive position) Work with the staff member and the manager of the Seconded position to agree the terms of the secondment.
If required and appropriate, arrange for backfill coverage for the staff member’s substantive position.
Manager / Supervisor (Seconded position) Discuss the potential to second an internal staff member with the manager of the substantive position before making the offer of secondment.
Work with the staff member and the manager of the substantive position to agree the terms of the secondment.
Legal Services Review any proposed amendment to External Secondment Agreements and advise on the implications of changes.
People & Culture Refer any proposed amendments to External Secondment Agreements to Legal Services for review.
Ensure all paperwork is correctly completed and filed.

Part B - General Principles

(6) VU utilises four different types of secondment arrangements:

  1. External Secondment (Outgoing): this occurs when a VU staff member is the successful applicant for a fixed term position with an external organisation, or another organisation requests the University's services, which results in a staff member working for the external organisation for a defined period of time and then returning to their role at VU;
  2. External Secondment (Incoming): a staff member from an external organisation is employed to work at the University for a fixed term period, and will then return to their home organisation;
  3. Internal Secondment: a staff member is seconded to a different role within the University on a temporary basis; or,
  4. Job Exchange - External Secondment (Outgoing and Incoming): a reciprocal arrangement is put in place between two staff members (one from VU and one from an external organisation) to exchange jobs for a defined period.

(7) Secondments are available to fixed-term and continuing employees who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period, or where probation does not apply, have been working in their current position for a minimum period of 12 months, unless otherwise negotiated between the employee’s line manager and the employee.

(8) Duration of secondment - Secondments are usually only granted for periods of up to twelve months. Secondment requests for periods of more than twelve months will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and for a total period of two years. This clause does not apply to Educational Leadership roles (positions) at the University.

(9) The conditions of employment of the University will continue to apply during the period of the external secondment or exchange unless other arrangements are agreed between the relevant parties. This includes:

  1. leave entitlements
  2. salary level and any increments falling due
  3. employer superannuation contributions and employee contributions
  4. workers' compensation and public liability

(10) University staff members retain the right of return to their substantive position at the expiration of the external secondment or exchange. Leave accrued during the secondment or exchange should be taken prior to the expiration of the secondment or exchange period.

(11) If a backfill arrangement is used to fill the seconded staff member’s substantive position, the backfill term must not exceed the period of time of the secondment.

(12) The following notice periods apply:

  1. Commencing secondment: A notice period should be negotiated with the supervisor of the staff member’s substantive position, and should not be less than two weeks.
  2. Extending a secondment arrangement: A proposed extension to a secondment arrangement should be discussed at least eight weeks prior to the cessation of the secondment period, to allow adequate time for resource planning.  NB: Extending a secondment arrangement would generally occur only once, and must be agreed between both supervisors and the staff member and formalised in writing.
  3. Intention not to return to substantive position: It is the responsibility of the staff member to advise their supervisor of their intention not to return to their substantive position at least eight weeks prior to the cessation of the secondment period.
  4. Resigning from the University: If an internally seconded staff member resigns from the University during their secondment, the standard notice period will apply (in accordance with the relevant industrial/employment agreement/letter of offer of employment).

(13) To end a secondment earlier than the designated expiry date, a staff member should consult with their supervisors and People and Culture to determine whether an appropriate temporary arrangement may be put in place (for example, the taking of Leave Without Pay or a temporary transfer to another position for the interim period). Early return to the substantive position may not be available due to backfilling arrangements.

Part C - External Secondment (Outgoing)

(14) Secondments will generally only be approved where the external organisation agrees to fully fund the secondment.

(15) Secondments that are unfunded or partially funded will only be approved in consideration of the importance of the secondment to the University. Approval is in line with the Delegations and Authorisations Policy.

(16) Where an external organisation requires the services of a University staff member, the request must be made in writing to the relevant supervisor by the external organisation. The application should outline:

  1. the reason for the secondment;
  2. terms of the secondment;
  3. conditions that will apply;
  4. selection process required; and,
  5. funding arrangements.

(17) An External Secondment - Outgoing Agreement must be prepared by a delegated officer of the University (in line with the Delegations and Authorisations Policy) in conjunction with the external organisation, the outgoing secondee, and People and Culture. This agreement must be in place and signed prior to the commencement of the secondment.

(18) Where changes are required to the standard External Secondment - Outgoing Agreement, these changes must be reviewed and agreed to by the University's Legal Services Department prior to signing.

(19) Prior to commencement of an External Secondment, an External Secondment - Outgoing Agreement must be sent to People & Culture for processing. People and Culture will retain the signed secondment agreement and any other paperwork.

Part D - External Secondment (Incoming)

(20) Where possible, when a temporary vacancy is to be filled by someone external to VU, it is preferred that vacancies be filled by way of a fixed term contract arrangement.

(21) However, from time to time, the University may second a staff member from an external organisation, for the purposes of obtaining specialised skills and knowledge or building beneficial reciprocal links with other organisations.

(22) All required recruitment processes and probity checks, including referee reports, police checks, working with children checks, confirmation of qualifications, and eligibility to work in Australia checks, must be followed and adhered to for all external secondments.

(23) Under an external secondment arrangement, the secondee remains an employee of their substantive organisation and on the payroll of the substantive workplace. The substantive workplace must invoice the University for the secondee's salary and salary on-costs for the secondment period.

(24) An External Secondment - Incoming Agreement should be prepared by a delegated officer of the University (in line with the Delegations and Authorisations Policy) in conjunction with the substantive workplace, the incoming secondee and People and Culture. The agreement must be in place, approved and signed by all parties before the secondment commences.

(25) People and Culture will retain the signed secondment agreement and any other paperwork. The secondee's details will be added to the People & Culture Information System for appropriate record keeping.

(26) Where changes are required to the standard External Secondment — Incoming Agreement, these changes must be reviewed and agreed to by the University's Legal Services Department prior to signing.

Part E - Internal Secondment

(27) Before an offer of internal secondment is made, the Supervisor of the Seconded position must discuss the prospect with the staff member’s substantive supervisor to ascertain whether the staff member can be released from their substantive position.

(28) Prior to commencing a secondment, the terms and conditions of the secondment must be established and agreed by all parties.

(29) An internal secondment can be filled by using the VU Recruitment process or by Direct Appointment.

(30) A requisition must be entered in Taleo and approved in accordance with the Delegations and Authorisations Policy. More information on how to raise a requisition can be found on the People and Culture Recruitment Intranet page or alternatively contact your People and Culture advisor.

(31) Probation provisions do not apply to internal secondment arrangements.

(32) People and Culture will provide a written letter of offer (where the secondment arrangement is a result of a formal recruitment and selection process), or an email confirmation of the secondment arrangement and approval to the staff member, with a copy to the respective supervisor/s.

Part F -  Job Exchange

(33) Job Exchanges are usually undertaken where there is a definable benefit for both VU and the other organisation, as well as for both staff members.

(34) The paperwork and process for approving Job Exchanges follows the requirements of both External Secondment (Outgoing) and External Secondment (Incoming) outlined in Parts C and D above.