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.



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 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.



February 22, 2019

Do you know what Essential Training you need to complete?

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:34 am

As part of our induction process, you will remember being asked to complete what’s known as our Essential Training. Essential Training is created to ensure that we all understand how we work here at Essex and what is required from us as staff members, both from the university and our own statutory obligations.

Undertaking the training is also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Essex and the resources available to help support you within your role, providing guidance on how to overcome challenges you may face.

The training includes subjects such as:

  • Equality & Diversity
  • Health & Safety
  • Information Security
  • Financial Regulations
  • Fire Safety
  • Computer Safety
  • Safeguarding
  • Unconscious Bias

All of these topics are fundamental when it comes to creating a safe and more enabling work environment. This training should be completed within the first 6 months of joining. If you have not yet completed your training please speak with your manager to agree a suitable deadline for completion.

To ensure that this training is completed we will shortly be rolling out reports to help staff members and their managers review the training they have completed and what still needs to be done. You will receive an individual report providing your essential training requirements along with links to the training and information on the policy.

Please do keep an eye out for these reports which we hope you will find helpful. If you would like to get a head start, you can find out more about Essential Training on the Essential Training webpage.

If you have any queries in relation to Essential Training requirements, you are encouraged to liaise with your manager in the first instance. Alternatively, you can email ldev@essex.ac.uk.



January 11, 2019

University of the year additional days annual leave

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 12:25 pm

Following the announcement on the 14 December here is some information below on the additional annual leave day and how you can book it.

 

Entitlement

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

A: Anyone who was employed by the University on the 14 December 2018 when the notification was released will be entitled to an additional day’s annual leave.

 

Q: Does this extend to UECS as well?

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

 

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

A: Your additional day 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 times 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 now 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 through HR Organiser to book, this day will be easily identified on HR Organiser as it will be called ‘University of the Year’ and hold your entitlement ready for you to book.

 

Q: When can I book this day through HR Organiser?

A: We are currently setting the scheme up and expect it to be available by mid-January, we will, of course, ensure we notify you when it is available on HR Organiser.

 

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.



November 12, 2018

Your Profile Counts!

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 9:05 am

We’re proud of our global community, and we work hard to create a working environment which recognises and harnesses the contribution of every member of the University.

In order for us to do this we need to be able to identify groups of people who are under-represented, who are not progressing as quickly as others or who are less successful and then change things for the better.

Through our Athena SWAN work we have been able to identify and take steps to address disparities in pay and progression in relation to gender and we want to do the same for ethnicity. However, a significant proportion of our staff have not disclosed their ethnicity, and therefore we are unable to draw any conclusions from the data we hold.

What can you do to ensure your profile counts?

Update your sensitive information on HR Organiser. This means that you are directly contributing to ensuring that the University is a fair and inclusive place to work.

The sensitive information you provide is considered to require particular care, known as ‘special category data’ and we can only hold this data if you consent to share it, by updating it on HR Organiser.

The information you provide will be held securely and treated as strictly confidential in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

More information about how we protect your privacy and how long we hold your data can be found in our Privacy Notices.

Other initiatives to further race equality

The Government’s Race at Work Charter, launched on 11 October to coincide with Black History Month, is a ‘call to action’ for leaders and organisations across all sectors and several high-profile organisations have already signed up.

The government has also published a consultation, open until January 2019, which looks at whether organisations should be required to report how people from different ethnic backgrounds are paid.

Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter, of which the University is a member, aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.



October 11, 2018

Brexit Session – Simon Kenny, Principal Associate, Eversheds Sutherland

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: , — Mohammed Alam @ 3:14 pm

31 October and 14 November, LTB 8   1.30pm – 4pm

There are two sessions being delivered by the legal firm, Eversheds Sutherland, on the 31 October and 14 November covering Brexit for our EU colleagues.  These sessions will help us to understand the immigration implications of Brexit and the practical steps which could be taken now in relation to remaining in the UK. Whilst the rules and requirements are still subject to change, the session gives an opportunity to find out more information and ask questions.  A provisional agenda for each session is given below:

  • an explanation of the provisions currently determined regarding citizens’ rights and those yet to be agreed;
  • a detailed guide to the applications which are relevant to you and could confirm your right to live in the UK.  The intention is that this would provide the information needed to make the applications or, alternatively, highlight potential problems which might require further legal help;
  • a summary of the processes used by UK Visas and Immigration to determine such applications, practical issues such as timing and documentation necessary, and how this is envisaged to change between now and December 2020;
  • a practical explanation of how British citizenship applications can be made and the relevance of these to the relevance of dual nationality;
  • a discussion of queries raised.

The session will not be a guide to individual applications but will deal with the points mentioned above and leave at least 1 hour 30 mins for questions.

After the sessions, Simon is happy to pick up queries in private discussions which directly relate to clarification of something which has been discussed, but he will not be able to advise in detail about individual applications and whether they qualify.

There is the option of attending this session via webinar using the software Zoom.  We will also be recording the sessions via Zoom and they will be made available online.  For colleagues attending from the Southend and Loughton campus, you can attend via webinar from your PC, and you will also be able to submit questions via the webinar.

If you would like to attend please email brexit@essex.ac.uk indicating which date you would like to attend and whether you would like to attend in-person or via the webinar.  If you are attending via webinar you will be sent a link with details of how to attend closer to the time.



September 17, 2018

New Adobe Courses Available:

Filed under: Advice & Support,Developing Excellence — Tags: , , — Mohammed Alam @ 11:38 am

IT Training is offering three exciting new Adobe courses this term for all members of our University community. Whatever your role, you’ll likely need to use images or digital media to explain concepts. Whislt you don’t necessarily need to be an Adobe power user, understanding how to work with the core tools can both empower you and help you to produce more compelling content.

Photoshop for beginners,  22 & 23 Oct, 3 & 4 Dec

An introduction to this industry-standard image editing software that allows users to manipulate, enhance, crop, resize and correct colour on digital images. You’ll analyse how an image can be improved and then edit it in order to improve it.

InDesign for beginners, 29 & 30 Oct, 10 & 12 Dec

Learn how to create and edit multi-page documents for publication and screen use. You’ll learn how to build a document layout; create documents in various sizes and page lengths; add, import and edit text as well as place and manipulate photographs and graphics.

Creating digital content with Adobe , 5, 6 & 7 Nov, 7, 8 & 9 Jan

In the first part of this course you will use Photoshop to edit, fix and augment your images to make them look striking and prepare them for web and print. Then you are introduced to Illustrator and vector graphics for logos and infographics. Lastly, you will concentrate on InDesign where you will put together brochures, banners and other materials using the media which you created previously.

For more information and to book these and other digital skills courses, visit the IT Training web page


 

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