Students Staff
University of Essex

November 8, 2019

Employee Voice

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 10:51 am

Our new University Strategy 2019 – 2025 puts people at the centre of everything we do.  We are committed to creating an inclusive environment where every member of staff is supported.  In order for us to see how we are doing, it is really important that we understand how you feel about working here – and whether you feel we are making progress.

I am pleased to launch our new Employee Voice website and a new all-staff survey.  Employee Voice represents our commitment to encouraging and understanding the views of our community.  We are changing the way we do surveys so that they take place more regularly but are focused on the issues we really care about.

Our new all-staff survey will be composed of 20 survey questions that span the experience of working here.  The survey uses the HSE Management Standards so that we get a full picture of possible stressors in the workplace.  Results will be shared with Heads so that they can consider what the results mean for how their Department or Section works.  The results will sit alongside other people data e.g. staff turnover to create a more complete picture.  We will look at how responses change over time and in response to new initiatives.

Alongside this, we will use more targeted surveys to capture experience at different stages of career.  A survey for leavers has already been launched, and we are piloting a survey on induction.  Next we will be developing surveys for those in leadership and management roles, and following applications for promotion (academic).  These will be sent directly to individuals at the appropriate time.

We have recently conducted a survey on flexible working, to which 460 employees responded.  That has given us a wealth of information, which we are considering carefully and will use as we take forward our agenda to create a flexible working culture.

These surveys are focused on you, our staff, and your experiences of working here at Essex.  I encourage everyone to complete the surveys.  Without your views, we will not understand whether we are making progress and where we need to do more.  Please click HERE to complete the survey.  Thank you.

 



October 1, 2019

University of the Year – Additional holiday reminder for Managers

Filed under: Advice & Support — Mohammed Alam @ 11:31 am

Following Our University winning the prestigious title of University of the Year, an additional day (pro rata for part time staff) was given to all staff, employed on or before 14 December 2018, at all of our campuses including our Students’ Union and Campus Services’ staff.

The additional holiday has to be taken during the year in which we are University of the Year i.e. between December 2018 and November 2019. The addition was added to each member of staff’s leave allocation for 2018/19 and if not taken will not be rolled forward into 2019/20.

As the time is now fast approaching the cut-off date so we would like to remind you and your staff that this additional holiday must be booked and taken before the end of November 2019. If this leave is not taken before the end of November 2019, then this additional holiday will not be carried over and will be lost.

Following the announcement on the 14 December 2018 here is some information below on the additional annual leave and how it can be booked.

Q: Who is entitled to the additional day’s annual leave?

A: Anyone who was employed by the University on or before the 14 December 2018 when the notification was released will be entitled to the additional annual leave day. Please note that those staff members who were on specific leave types on this date may not be eligible.

Q: Does this extend to UECS as well?

A: UECS, Students Union and The Edge Hotel School will be entitled to the additional leave.

Q: I am leaving the University in the next few months what will happen to my additional leave?

A: Your additional leave will still be available for you to take prior to you leaving the University.

Q: What does a day’s annual leave equate to?

A: For full-time staff, this will equate to an additional 7.2 hours, for part-time staff the additional entitlement will be pro rata to take into account a working pattern of fewer than 36 hours per week.  How we calculate this is to take the full-time entitlement of 7.2 hours to divide this by the full-time hours and then multiply this by your actual contracted hours.  E.g. 7.2 / 36 * 25 = 5 hours additional entitlement.

Q: If I don’t use my additional day’s annual leave can this be carried forward?

A: The additional day is to be used between December 2018 and the end of November 2019. There will be no facility to book this additional day beyond November 2019.

Q: I started my employment in January 2019, will I receive the additional day’s entitlement?

A: Our University won the prestigious title of the University of the Year as a result of the hard work and dedication of every member of our community, therefore the award is to recognise and reward those who were employed in the period leading up to the award being given.

How to book

Q: Will the additional day be available through HR Organiser?

A: The day will be available to book through HR Organise. This day is easily identifiable on HR Organiser as it is called ‘University of the Year’ and hold your entitlement ready for you to book.

Q: What happens to my entitlement to the day if I do not book it before November 2019?

A: We will send reminders to Managers of annual leave that is still to be booked, however, the entitlement will automatically be removed after November 2019.

Q: I still have unanswered questions, where do I go for help?

A: If you still have questions please contact staffing@essex.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.



September 11, 2019

Have your say! Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2020

Filed under: Equality and Diversity,Inclusion,LGBT+,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Victoria Beckwith @ 11:53 am

Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index is the definitive benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in the workplace.

As part of the University’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index submission, Stonewall would like to invite all of our staff to take part in their employee survey. The information you provide is anonymous and completely confidential; it is not possible for individuals to be identified through their responses.

Stonewall aims to be as transparent as possible when processing data. We have outlined below how and why they use the data that you submit for analytical purposes:

  • Reporting, to your employer, average scores and trends on key indicators of inclusion in your workplace (where sample sizes are too small, only national, regional and sector trends will be shared with your employer)
  • Reporting national, regional and sector trends on LGBT inclusion in the workplace to be included in the Stonewall Top 100 report in January 2020 and associated publications

You can access the survey using the following 4-digit code: 1685.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 1 November 2019.



August 29, 2019

Our approach to supporting trans and non-binary staff

Filed under: Equality and Diversity,Inclusion,LGBT+ — Tags: , — Victoria Beckwith @ 4:07 pm

new resource is available, which will be particularly helpful for trans and non-binary individuals, those with management responsibilities for trans and non-binary staff, colleagues of trans and non-binary staff, and Human Resources staff.

Even if this doesn’t seem applicable to you, we really encourage you to familiarise yourselves with this document, as it sets out the University’s approach to supporting new and existing trans and non-binary staff and those who transition while at Essex, and makes clear our broader commitment to celebrating the diversity of our students and staff.

The way in which the University supports trans and non-binary staff is based on five key principles:

  • Staff can self-identify their gender for University purposes
  • No bullying or harassment of trans or non-binary staff will be tolerated
  • The needs of each trans employee will be addressed individually
  • The process of transitioning at work will be led by the person transitioning
  • An individual’s trans status will be kept confidential, in line with the person’s wishes and the law

This document is part of a wider range of our employment policies and procedures; all of our family-friendly policies are inclusive and apply to everyone, including lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff and same-sex couples as well as heterosexual individuals and couples.



May 16, 2019

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) Friday 17 May

Filed under: Equality and Diversity,Inclusion,LGBT+ — Tags: , — Victoria Beckwith @ 2:39 pm

The University is marking International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on Friday 17 May by championing our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. You can show your support to our LGBT+ community in a number of ways:

We are proud to be a Stonewall Top 100 Employer, and we have a zero tolerance approach to any form of harassment. If you witness or experience harassment, you may report the incident on our report and support system. You can choose to contact an adviser, or report an incident anonymously.

If you contact an adviser, it will put you in touch with one of our Harassment Support Workers, who are part of the Harassment Report and Support Service. This trained network of staff includes representatives at all three of our campuses and can be accessed by employees, workers, contractors, students and visitors to our University. We will take action on any report received, and the action will be proportionate to the circumstances of the case.

If you choose to report an incident anonymously, we will not be able to take any direct action on this report, but the data we gather from these reports will help us to identify patterns and trends in behaviour and to evaluate the impact of our reporting system. This data will inform our preventative work and help us to understand the scope of these issues on our campuses and in our community.

It’s also really important that our staff are able to identify any form of harassment, and develop the skills to positively intervene, which is why we will be offering more bystander intervention workshops for staff in the Autumn term. Being an active bystander means intervening safely and positively to deescalate any potentially harmful incidents, and we want to empower our community to intervene when negative situations or behaviours arise. If you would like to sign up for bystander intervention training, please contact develop@essex.ac.uk.



May 9, 2019

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

Filed under: Equality and Diversity,Gender equality,Inclusion,LGBT+ — Tags: , — Victoria Beckwith @ 1:01 pm

At Essex our people are at the centre of everything we do and we aspire to build a culture in which every member of the University feels valued and can flourish.

In order to achieve this we are committed to establishing:

  • a truly inclusive working environment, not only through policies and processes, but also by the way our people behave
  • a physical environment that promotes a healthy working lifestyle
  • a culture that recognises the connection between rest, creativity and wellbeing
  • a flexible working culture which leads to self-managed time and a collaborative working culture in which our people support, and have mutual respect for, each other.

We were recently recognised for our approach to inclusion at the Guardian University Awards 2019, as a runner up in the category of ‘Advancing Staff Equality’. Our approach to embedding LGBT+ inclusivity in everything we do, from policies and procedures, to values and behaviours, was shortlisted for the award, and our Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Karen Bush, discussed this approach with BBC Essex:

 

 

“We are trying to embed a layer of inclusivity into absolutely everything we do, so rather than focusing on specific projects necessarily, or celebrating particular days, we’re actually thinking about how do we create an environment that is truly inclusive to everybody…From an institutional perspective, how do our processes, how do our policies support every single member of our community to be the best that they can be?”

Creating an inclusive environment is key to supporting the mental wellbeing and resilience of our community, and we aspire to be an enabling environment, which values, supports and encourages our members. Work has already begun on an Enabling Environments accreditation by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which will draw upon the rich resources that exist within the University to support our members to stay mentally and physically well, and to systematically thread the language and culture of wellbeing and resilience across the institution.

 



April 24, 2019

Essential Training

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 11:02 am

You should have now received your own Essential Training report, detailing all your required training and what still needs to be completed . Since sending out these reports a few weeks ago, an additional 2077 training courses have now been completed by 878 different employees. This is great news in such a short period of time. We thank you for taking the time to complete these courses and hope that this number will continue to increase. This will really make a difference to the way we work here at Essex, ensuring that everyone knows their requirements and is supported in their role.

We are working to continually improve our process of Essential Training reporting. We have received a range of queries about Essential Training and the reports. We will continue to respond to these and resolve any issues as soon as possible.

Following the queries received, we have pulled together a list of common issues which you can find below. We would be grateful if you were able to take a look and familiarise yourself with the issues being raised. It is likely that many others are affected by these and we hope that the information will be helpful to you.

Common Queries

Fire safety

The fire safety course is no longer a face-to-face session and therefore needs to be completed on Moodle. Please follow this link for the correct course. Apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

Induction for Managers

This course is currently being redesigned as ‘Do You Manage the Essex way?’ This is a new course coming soon and will be essential for all managers. We will be in touch following a launch.

Unconscious Bias

This is both a Moodle course and a face to face course. You do not need to complete both of these. You can chose whether you would prefer to complete the online version or the face to face session. Either will suffice for this module.

Report not received

Please do check your junk mail as it may have been sent there. If you still cannot find this email please contact the Business System Team who will be able to help.

Incorrect records

We have had a number of queries from people stating that they have completed the course and that this is not showing on their reports.

  • If you have completed the course and have evidence of this, either a certificate or a screenshot from Moodle to show this is done, please send this through to our Business Services Team so that they may update your records.
  • If you do not have evidence of your completion but completed it within the last 3 years please let us know and we will look to see if we can find evidence of completion for you.
  • If however it has been more than three years since you completed the course and you do not have evidence of completion then the course will need to be completed again.
Incorrect Line management details

If you have received a line manager’s report detailing Essential Training requirements for your direct reports but are seeing incorrect information in regard to who your direct reports are, please contact HR to get your profile updated.

GTAs and GLAs

All Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Lab Assistants will need to complete the Essential Training and will be paid to complete this at department level. Please do let us know if you have any queries in relation to this and we will be able to provide further details.

Casual Workers

If you work at Essex under a casual agreement then you’re not contractually required to complete the training. If you have received a report you do not need to do anything as this has now been updated on the system.

Viewing your completed training on HR Organiser

Please take a look at the second to last question in our FAQs document for details on how to view your completed training.

Further help and support

If you find that you have an issue that needs our attention, and that is not answered by the information above, please do get in contact by emailing develop@essex.ac.uk so that we may help to resolve it. As these reports have gone to a large number of staff, we really appreciate your patience as we work through these queries. You may also find more helpful information in our Frequently Asked Questions document.

As we continue to shape this process, and our training, we appreciate any feedback that you may have. Thank you again for taking the time to complete your training and for bringing any concerns to our attention.



March 20, 2019

Stonewall LGBT Leadership programme

Filed under: Developing Excellence — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 10:50 am

We are inviting applications to apply for a place on the Stonewall LGBT Leadership programme which is taking place on 17-19 July 2019.

The Stonewall Leadership programme has been running for 16 years and is a CPD-accredited, intensive two-day residential, bringing together senior leaders who identify as LGBT+ from across a range of sectors and industries. It invites delegates to reflect on how their identity as an LGBT+ person has had an impact on their leadership journey, understand what it means to them to be an authentic leader and explore how to be a more visible and inclusive leader.

Applications should be returned to develop@essex.ac.uk by 19 April. An internal selection process will take place to determine who will go forward to the Stonewall selection process. Those selected via the internal process will be required to complete a separate Stonewall application form.



March 19, 2019

Brexit: Implications for job applicants and existing EU/EAA staff

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 12:08 pm

Employing staff from other EU/EEA countries – between 29 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 (the Implementation Period)

Deal No deal
There will be no change to the immigration status of EU staff who are already resident in the UK, or who arrive before the end of the government’s Brexit implementation period on 31 December 2020. This was confirmed in the government’s Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme. EU nationals who already live in the UK, or who arrive by 31 December 2020, will be able to apply for ‘settled status’. This will enable EU citizens to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like, with the ability to leave the UK for up to five years without endangering their settled status. The Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021. A pilot of the scheme opened on 21 January. Individuals arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 in a no-deal scenario will be able to stay in the UK for up to three months, after which they will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain. This will enable them to work, study and live in the UK for up to 3 years. Once their Leave to Remain expires, they will have to apply under the future immigration system (operational from 2021) for the relevant visa.

 

 

Existing staff from other EU/EEA countries – between 29 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 (the Implementation Period)

Deal No deal
EU citizens who have already been in the UK for five years and can evidence that will be granted settled status. EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years will be granted pre-settled status until they reach the five-year residency requirement. Those EU/EEA nationals with permanent residence will be able to convert their permanent residence status into the new settled status free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and proof of ongoing residence. The government has published a policy paper on citizens’ rights in the event of a no deal. It confirms that even if no deal between the UK and the EU is reached, the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be implemented, enabling EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 29 March 2019 to secure their status and continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis after UK’s exit from the EU as they do now. The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019 as planned. The planned application deadline will be brought forward to 31 December 2020 in the event of no deal.

The government has reached agreements with governments of EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland about the rights of their citizens. These are broadly in line with those negotiated for EU students and citizens. Nationals of these countries will be able to guarantee their rights in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme once it opens fully at the end of March. The Political Declaration commits to negotiating mobility arrangements for researchers and scientists in a UK/EU trade deal.

 

 

Post Implementation Period

The government white paper ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ provides details on the proposed system for employing workers from outside the UK following the Implementation Period: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766465/The-UKs-future-skills-based-immigration-system-print-ready.pdf

After the UK’s exit and following the Implementation Period, there will no longer be one immigration system for non-Europeans, and another for EU citizens. UK Immigration Rules will apply to EU and non-EU migrants alike in a single skills-based system. From 2021 there will be no cap on the number of skilled workers allowed to enter the UK to work. (The Tier 2 cap is a monthly limit on the number of Tier 2 visas that can be granted to skilled workers from outside the EEA and Switzerland. Certain occupations, such as nurses, are already exempt from the cap.)

 

EU/EEA workers who have achieved settled status will be able to continue working in the UK without further checks.

Update – Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced in his Spring Statement on 13 March 2019 that from autumn 2019 PhD level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap on the number of skilled worker visas that are granted each month.

 

The Chancellor also announced that from autumn 2019, the Government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences “so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK”.  (Previously absences of 180 days or more, even for research purposes, might prevent Indefinite Leave to Remain being granted)

 

 

Recruitment process changes

Employing staff during the Implementation Period

Deal No deal
No change – EU citizens will continue to have a right to work in the UK. They will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status (depending on how long they have been resident in the UK) before 30 June 2021. Additional RTW checks will be required to establish if the applicant is already resident in the UK. If already residing in the UK the applicant will need to apply for settled status.

 

If the applicant will be moving to the UK to start employment they will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain within 3 months of arrival. Contracts will need revising to state continued employment is conditional on Leave to Remain being granted.

 

New reporting/workflows to be developed to advise line managers about requirements.

 

 

Employing staff after the Implementation Period

Deal No deal
EU/EAA citizens who do not live in the UK and/or have not achieved settled status will be required to apply for the relevant visa under the new skills based immigration system. Detailed information on the new scheme is not yet available but will likely be similar to current Tier 2 sponsorship. This will mean an increase in workload and extended time to hire for EU/EAA workers into the UK.

 



March 1, 2019

USS/SAUL Pension options for Grades 1 – 6

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 12:58 pm

Pension options for Grades 1 – 6, who joined the University between 1 Feb 2004 and 1 June 2014

Previously our USS deed precluded the University from offering another pension scheme to members who had a contractual right to join USS.  Following on from feedback from members and their concerns over the increasing costs of USS we have worked with USS to challenge this and have now had the exclusivity right waived for this group of staff only. 

What does this mean?

If you were employed between 1 February 2004 and 1 June 2014 and are currently employed on a Grade 1 – 6 contract you now have the choice to cease your USS membership and join the SAUL pension scheme.

What is the difference between the schemes?

The table below outlines some top-level differences between the USS and SAUL schemes.

Feature SAUL USS
Pension accrual rate 1/75th of your annual salary 1/75th of your annual salary
Contribution Rate 6% of your salary 8% of your salary
Lump sum 3 x annual pension 3x annual pension
Death in Service (active scheme member A lump sum of four times your annual salary, a spouses pension and children’s allowances A lump sum equal to three times your annual salary, a spouses pension and children allowances
Is Overtime pensionable Yes No

This is a high-level summary, further details about the scheme benefits are available from the websites below. Please note that from the 1 April 2019, the USS contribution rate will be increasing from 8% to 8.8% of salary, and there are further increases proposed in October 2019 and April 2020.

 

What happens now?

To support members in understanding their options we will be contacting eligible members directly, putting on workshops to help explain the differences as well as providing a take home pay calculator so that you can work out the difference to your take-home pay.

If you require further information please contact pension@essex.ac.uk  who will be able to help. We must, however, reiterate that this is an individual personal choice and that we cannot advise you.


 

Older Posts »