70. Managing unsatisfactory performance

70.1. Unsatisfactory Performance means a persistent and serious failure of the staff member to perform the work of the position or appointment at a level which would be reasonably required having regard to:

  1. the nature and purpose of the position;
  2. its classification; and
  3. any representations made by the staff member at the time of selection for employment or selection/promotion to the staff member’s current position or level without the presence of sufficient mitigating factors. Examples of sufficient mitigating factors include ill health, excessive workload; the absence of training; resources or guidance which the staff member might reasonably expect to have received.

70.2. Disciplinary action means:

  1. formal counselling of a staff member by an appropriate supervisor;
  2. giving a staff member a written warning (including, where appropriate, a final warning);
  3. withholding an increment;
  4. demotion from an increment point within a grade;
  5. demotion of a staff member;
  6. other action as recommended by a review committee; or
  7. termination of a staff member’s employment (in the case of un-remediated unsatisfactory performance).

Disciplinary procedures

70.3. A staff member may seek assistance from a union or staff representative and may seek procedural advice from Human Resources staff at any time during the processes set out below.

70.4. All decisions to discipline or terminate the employment of a staff member must be in accordance with this Agreement and before any decision is made to discipline a staff member for unsatisfactory performance, the University must ensure that the steps in the clauses below have been complied with.

70.5. Procedural fairness and natural justice will apply. Those involved in any disciplinary action or grievance process have a duty that any decision is not affected by favouritism, bias or conflict of interest and they must act fairly and impartially.

70.6. The University through the supervisor, and the staff member, must make every effort to resolve instances of possible unsatisfactory performance, through guidance, counselling and appropriate staff development, or appropriate work allocation before a possible report to the Director - Human Resources.

Unsatisfactory performance

70.7. Where the supervisor of a staff member is concerned about the performance of the staff member the supervisor will meet with the staff member as soon as is reasonably practicable to discuss these concerns and establish a reasonable period of review. This will, where necessary, include:

  1. the specific deficiencies in the staff member’s performance;
  2. appropriate development assistance required to address the issue/s;
  3. the specific corrective action required;
  4. the performance standards required; and
  5. a reasonable timeframe in which to address the issue/s.

70.8. Where the staff member has addressed the performance concerns within the identified timeframe, the action will cease.

70.9. Following the completion of a reasonable review period as outlined in clause 70.7, if there is little or no improvement in the performance of the staff member, the supervisor will work with the staff member on an improvement plan and timeline to assist the staff member to achieve the performance standards. The supervisor shall specify in writing the specific improvements required and, if necessary, the additional guidance, assistance and training which would reasonably enable the staff member to meet the appropriate performance standards.

70.10. At the end of the review period the supervisor shall advise the staff member in writing that either:

  1. the issues are resolved, and that no further action is required;
  2. a further period of review is required, specifying the new review period; or
  3. that the performance is assessed as unsatisfactory performance and that proportionate disciplinary action is warranted, in which case the supervisor shall make a report to the Director – Human Resources which will include the aspects of performance or conduct seen as unsatisfactory and the record of attempts to remedy the problem and any issues in mitigation of which they are aware.

70.11. The University shall provide the staff member with a copy of the report. The staff member shall then be entitled to a reasonable opportunity, of no less than 5 working days, to submit a written report to the Director Human Resources.

70.12. After considering the staff member’s response, the Director – Human Resources or the Vice-Chancellor’s nominee will then decide to:

  1. take no further action;
  2. where the Director – Human Resources or the Vice-Chancellor’s nominee is of the view that procedural fairness has not been afforded the staff member, refer the matter back to the supervisor with a direction to revisit any of the steps or processes above; or
  3. take proportionate disciplinary action, in which case the Director – Human Resources or Vice-Chancellor’s nominee shall set out in writing and provide to the staff member a statement as to what material has been considered; what acts or omissions or failings on the part of the staff member constitute unsatisfactory performance, and any relevant conclusions upon which the findings are based.

70.13. Where a decision is made to take disciplinary action the staff member may only seek a review of this decision in accordance with clause 73 – Review of decision.

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