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Flexible Work Arrangements - Flexible Employment Cycle Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) The procedure outlines the process regarding a request for a flexible employment cycle (which is sometimes referred to as 48/52, annualised/reduced employment cycle or purchased leave). It implements the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and must be read in conjunction with that Policy and the relevant provisions of the University's industrial agreements.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(2) A flexible employment cycle enables staff to purchase additional leave (i.e. more than the standard four weeks' annual leave) while receiving their salary annualised over the year. For example, a 48/52 week employment cycle enables staff to take an additional four weeks' leave while receiving 48 weeks' salary payable over 52 weeks of the year.

(3) Flexible employment cycles that will be considered by the University are: 46/52, 47/52, 48/52, 49/52, 50/52 and 51/52.

(4) All continuing and fixed-term staff are eligible to apply for a flexible employment cycle, which will apply over a 12 month period.

(5) This does not preclude consideration of and granting of flexible work arrangements for other employees, and/or for shorter periods of time, particularly when the request relates to parenting or caring responsibilities. Please consult People & Culture in this instance.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(6) Nil

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(7) Nil

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Section 5 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Managers / Supervisors Implement the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and the applicable procedure in the manner outlined.
Staff Comply with the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and applicable procedure.

Part B - General

(8) All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Flexible Work Arrangement Policy, this procedure and the relevant provisions of the applicable industrial agreement.

(9) While flexible employment cycles are not an automatic entitlement, the University will not refuse any request that can be reasonably accommodated within operational requirements.

(10) The University has additional obligations to staff who are seeking to vary their work arrangements due to parenting or carer responsibilities. The University will not unreasonably refuse to accommodate the responsibilities that the person has as a parent or carer.

(11) It is not a requirement that all accrued leave must be taken prior to or during a flexible employment cycle period. However, where the leave balance is excessive, the University may recommend alternative options in accordance with the relevant Industrial Agreement and Leave Management Policy.

(12) Staff utilising a flexible employment cycle retain benefits accrued on a full-time or fractional time basis prior to the commencement of the arrangement. However, once the flexible employment cycle commences, benefits accrue at the new fractional rate.

(13) Staff on a flexible employment cycle will not accrue and/or be permitted to take rostered days off.

(14) The manner and periods of leave sought is subject to negotiation and agreement between the staff member and the relevant supervisor/manager.

(15) The use of a flexible employment cycle does not alter the staff member's substantive position. A staff member working under this arrangement will revert to their substantive employment conditions, including their substantive time fraction, upon expiry of the agreed arrangement, unless approval is given for an additional period.

(16) Employer superannuation contributions will be calculated on the reduced fractional rate (eg. pro-rata 48/52). Employee contributions will be similarly reduced unless an additional voluntary contribution is authorised by the staff member. Staff should consult with People & Culture and/or the superannuation fund regarding the implications of commencing a flexible employment cycle.

(17) All leave, Work Cover or accident compensation entitlement taken within the flexible employment cycle period will be paid at the reduced fractional rate.

(18) Both annual and flexible employment cycle leave must be planned and approved prior to commencing the agreed period of leave. If a staff member is unable to take all of their flexible employment cycle leave within that period, the staff member must make arrangements with their supervisor or manager to:

  1. take all remaining leave as soon as possible thereafter; or
  2. have the arrangement and associated salary reviewed.

(19) Where a staff member terminates their employment during a flexible employment cycle, a reconciliation will be undertaken by the University to determine any residual adjustment required to the staff member's termination payment.

Part C - Application Process

Staff Request

(20) Where practicable, requests for a flexible employment cycle should be discussed between the staff member and the relevant supervisor/manager in the first instance.

(21) Applications must be made in writing (using the Employee Variation Request (HR44) and HR27 Application for 46-51/52) and submitted to the relevant supervisor/manager, outlining:

  1. The reasons for the request;
  2. Proposed dates of annual leave;
  3. Proposed dates of the Flexible Employment Cycle leave; and
  4. Anticipated commencement date allowing sufficient time for consideration, approval and the appointment of replacement staff to be organised if required. Please also note that a Flexible Employment Cycle must commence at the start of a pay period/fortnight).

(22) The request should also outline any potential impacts that the staff member believes the arrangement may have on:

  1. the organisational unit and wider department/college;
  2. other staff and their current work load; and
  3. how any potential adverse affects may be mitigated/addressed.

Consideration of request

(23) Applications for flexible employment cycle should be considered and determined by a delegated officer in accordance with the People and Culture Delegations Policy. The decision must be made in accordance with the University's Flexible Work Arrangements Policy and the relevant provisions of the applicable industrial agreement.

(24) Supervisors/managers should seek advice from People and Culture where appropriate and a decision regarding a request must be provided in writing within 21 calendar days of receiving the request.

Declining a Request

(25) Where a request cannot be granted, supervisors/managers should seek advice from People and Culture.

(26) The decision not to approve the request should be discussed verbally with the employee in the first instance. Wherever possible, alternatives should be considered before a final decision is made.

(27) The final decision must be communicated to the staff member in writing within 21 calendar days of receiving the request. The decision must clearly set out the reasonable business grounds upon which the decision was made.

(28) A copy of this documentation should also be placed on the employee's personnel file. All employment records should be retained in accordance with the University's Record Management Policy.

Approving a request — People and Culture processing

(29) Once a request for a Flexible Employment Cycle has been approved by the supervisor/manager, the Employee Variation Request (HR44) must be completed along with the HR27 — Application for 46-51/52 and submitted to People & Culture for processing.

(30) Attachments should also include a leave plan of proposed annual and flexible employment cycle leave dates. Such documentation will be kept on the staff member's employee file.

(31) Where the request is granted, the decision must be communicated to the employee in writing no later than 21 calendar days following receipt of the application.


(32) A flexible employment cycle arrangement must commence at the beginning of a pay period/fortnight that is mutually agreed between the staff member and their supervisor/manager, on the condition that sufficient notice has been provided to People & Culture to affect any salary changes.

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(33) Flexible Work Arrangements Toolkit (located under ‘Flexible work and parental leave’).