14. Fixed term employment

14.1  'Fixed term employment' means employment for a specified term where the employment contract specifies the start and finish dates of that employment. Where a fixed term appointment is made for a specific task or project, the contract may, in lieu of a finishing date, specify the circumstance(s) that results in employment ceasing.

14.2  The use of fixed-term employment is limited to the employment of a staff member engaged in work activities that come within the description of one or more of the following circumstances:

  1. specific task or project where a definable work activity has a starting time and which is expected to be completed within an anticipated timeframe. Without limiting the generality of that circumstance, it also includes a period of employment provided for from identifiable funding external to the University, not being funding that is part of an operating grant from government or funding comprised of payments of fees made by or on behalf of students.
  2. research work by a staff member engaged on research intensive functions for:
    1. a professional staff contract period not less than 3 months and normally not more than 3 years except where funding is directly attached to external grants secured for up to 6 years; and
    2. an academic staff contract period not exceeding 5 years.
  3. new organisational arrangement where a professional staff member is employed for up to 12 months until the practicality of permanently filling the position is known dependent on the continuing operation of the area.
  4. Where an organisational work area has been the subject of a decision to be disestablished or reduced in size, and fixed term staff are needed to phase out the area. Should the decision be reversed or the positions be for in excess of five (5) years, staff in these positions will be offered conversion to a continuing appointment, except where an extension beyond five (5) years is for a defined, short term period and at which point the funding for the position will cease
  5. Employment schemes - clause 14.7
  6. Research Academic Staff Career Employment - clause 14.8

Options at expiry of Fixed Term Appointment

14.3  A fixed term staff member will be offered further work if available in the relevant position except if employed under an employment scheme (clause 14.7), provided that:

  • there is funding security for the position;
  • the staff member had had satisfactory performance; and
  • the staff member was initially employed after a normal competitive selection process for the relevant type of position.

14.4  A staff member with more than 12 months continuous service may apply for conversion to a continuing appointment not less than 3 months prior to the fixed term appointment expiring subject to:

  • the staff member having had satisfactory performance;
  • further work being available in the relevant position;
  • funding security for the position;
  • the staff member initially being appointed after a normal competitive selection process for the relevant type of position; and
  • the number and quality of the candidates when the position was initially advertised who would merit ongoing appointment.

The University may refuse to grant the application, but will not unreasonably do so.

14.5  The above does not prevent the Director - Human Resources making an offer of further employment at their discretion. Where this further employment is fixed term, this does not prevent the staff member being considered eligible for conversion or for severance payments.

14.6  Where a professional staff member has been employed under clause 14.2 (b) (i) above, the appointment can be extended only once for a period not exceeding 12 months except where the continuation of identifiable external funding is subject to milestone reviews. Except for extensions due to milestone reviews, where the duties of the fixed term position continue unchanged or substantially unchanged, any further appointment to the position will be a continuing appointment.

Employment Schemes

14.7  The University may employ a staff member on one of the following fixed term employment schemes, which do not attract severance payments: 

  1. 'Replacement Employee Scheme' is a scheme which allows for employment of a staff member to undertake the work of another staff member absent on leave or temporary transfer, or perform the duties of a vacant position where recruitment action has commenced, or perform the duties of a position where the substantive occupant is performing higher duties in a vacant position for which recruitment action has commenced.
  2. 'Professional Practice Scheme' is a scheme which requires specific curriculum or related work to be undertaken by a person who has demonstrable professional or commercial expertise. Employment periods on this scheme will not total more than 3 years.
  3. Career Entry Development Scheme' means employment of a new staff member who may or may not have completed Year 12, or tertiary studies, and the University considers it appropriate to enter into arrangements concerning their studies while they earn a salary and develop on-the-job skills. The Career Entry Development Scheme does not apply to graduate students employed by the University (e.g., as tutors, demonstrators, part-time academic members of staff, or in research assistant positions).
  4. Student Internships Scheme' is a scheme to provide career development opportunities for university students.Employment will be offered on a professional staff fixed term basis within the ANU Officer 3 salary level. 
  5. 'Student Employment Scheme' is a scheme where a student is employed to perform work generally related to their course, for the period of their course, including any short period thereafter.
  6. 'Apprenticeship Scheme' is a scheme where a person is employed as an apprentice for a time to complete disciplines to obtain recognition in their chosen trade/vocation.
  7. 'Trainee Technical Officer Scheme'  is a scheme where a staff member is employed for a specified period to complete a prescribed course of study. The traineeship may be extended by agreement between the University and the trainee due to illness or where there is the need for additional time to complete the relevant course/s.
  8. 'Trainee Scheme'  is a scheme where a staff member is employed for a fixed term to complete an approved training course or training program. A trainee will be employed subject to an agreement made between the University and the trainee and registered with the relevant State or Territory Training Authority.
  9. 'Pre-Retirement Scheme' is where a staff member declares their intention to retire, and enters into a contract with a cessation date on or around their stated retirement date.
  10. 'Rehabilitation Scheme' is a scheme to assist in rehabilitation of fixed term staff members who have suffered a work related injury.

Research Academic Staff Career Employment

14.8  Research Academic Staff Career Employment (RASCE) means academic employment at Levels A, B, or C, predominantly for research and subject to the following:

  1. the employment of academic staff under RASCE will be for an initial period of 7 years, with the option of renewal or conversion at the end of the initial employment agreement if the criteria set out below are met;
  2. during the first year of employment, the academic staff member will be engaged almost entirely on research activities (other than teaching on an occasional basis). For the remaining 6 years, the contact teaching load will not exceed an average of 40% of that which would apply to a comparable continuing teaching-and-research position for the same classification, academic area and fraction.

14.9  Six months prior to the end of the 7-year period of employment, the University will decide either to: 

  1. terminate the employment (in which case the staff member will receive a severance payment applicable to fixed term staff); or
  2. convert the employment to a continuing appointment; or
  3. engage the staff member for a further 7-year appointment under the same terms as the initial employment; or
  4. where relevant provide notice of termination for the employment to end at a later date than the end of the initial 7-year period, to complete a research project on which the staff member is currently employed.

14.10  In making this decision, the University will have regard to the security of funding of the relevant academic area or activities in relation to the mix of continuing, RASCE and fixed term employment, the performance of the staff member, as well as other relevant factors. The University will not unreasonably refuse a request for conversion to continuing employment or for a further 7-year period, to which all of the above conditions apply. A staff member will not be engaged on more than two such fixed term periods of employment.

14.11  A staff member on a RASCE will have the same conditions of employment as a staff member with continuing employment, except for termination on the grounds for redundancy or unless otherwise specified above.