Students Staff
University of Essex

January 17, 2020

Gender pay gap blog, January 2020

Filed under: Advice & Support,Gender equality — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 3:30 pm

The publication of our third annual gender pay gap report is a key moment to review our progress in relation to equal pay and to apply best practice in shaping our commitment to rewarding staff fairly, based on their contribution regardless of their personal characteristics.

There are a range of dimensions to the gender pay gap: ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, so that women and men get paid the same for similar work; and closing the overall pay gap (defined as the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across the organisation).

On the first dimension, our regular equal pay audits have confirmed that by grade and across all grades, we have no significant gender pay gaps between women and men and there is equal pay for work of equal value. On the second dimension, between 2013 and 2019, our institutional mean gender pay gap (which is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across the University), has reduced by 8.3% (from 24.8% to 16.5%). Our institutional median gender pay gap is currently 16.2%. This represents good progress, but it is not acceptable to have any gaps at all.

Over the last three years, we have been working hard to delve deeper into the data. We know that the gap arises from the uneven distribution of men and women across grades and that we have a much higher percentage of female staff working at lower grades and a higher percentage of male staff at higher grades. We also know there are many other reasons that lead to a gender pay gap – and that we need to tackle these.

In order to identify where further progress can be made, we have therefore looked at pay gaps within sections and departments and by job families i.e. academic staff and professional services staff.

This analysis has revealed that the main driver of the gender pay gap (men’s and women’s average earnings) is large numbers of male staff in highly paid academic roles. If the five academic departments with the largest gender pay gap were removed from the calculation, the mean gender pay gap would reduce to 13.2% and the median to 11.1%. In these departments, the percentage of female staff decreases sharply at higher grades. We also know that sections/departments with more equally balanced numbers of men and women across all grades have lower pay gaps.

Future Actions

One option provided for in the Equality Act 2010 is for positive action to be taken at the point of offering employment. This means that when a panel considers that two (or more) candidates are of equal merit, the panel can select a candidate from a particular group that is under-represented. This approach might provide an opportunity for departments with large imbalances in the gender distribution of academic staff, to address this – and to this end HR will be providing guidance on how this might be taken forward.

Another option is to have a better balance between males and females.  If a department currently has 80% male academic staff and 20% female academic staff, we think our aspiration should be to have 60% males and 40% females. Our HR teams will provide each department with the necessary information to support their decision-making. We think a 60/40 distribution – whilst not ideal – will be an improvement and something to aspire to. Our ultimate long-term target is a 50/50 distribution, but this does not currently reflect trends in the sector or the UK overall.

Whilst the focus of this work requires us to consider gender as binary, we know that many members of our community identify outside the gender binary and/or as trans. We are committed to continuing to work to create an environment that is truly inclusive for everyone regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or disability status. I would really like to encourage you to engage in Athena SWAN work going on in your department and, if you work in a professional services section, to look out for our new Athena SWAN-inspired Essex Diversity Impact Award Scheme.

Like many, I was shocked by recent incidents involving the removal and defacing of posters in support of LGBT+ people. Their removal or defacement is utterly unacceptable and I want to encourage you to play whatever part you can, in making clear that we are community where everyone is accepted without exception.



December 18, 2019

Alcohol Awareness

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Victoria Beckwith @ 4:25 pm

Alcohol is a big part of UK culture, and features in many of our lives. For some of us, we use it for celebration, for comfort, to socialise, to wind down, or to cope.

We must be mindful that alcohol, whilst a part of many of our lives, can cause harm if misused, including mental health problems, liver disease, one of seven forms of cancer and economic difficulties.

We are committed to creating an enabling environment at the University, in which all our members can thrive, and it is important that you take care of yourselves and look after your physical and emotional wellbeing.

We are encouraging you to raise awareness of your own use of alcohol, and have provided Drinkaware scratch cards in main staff areas and receptions.

Please take and complete these cards, and if you have any worries or concerns about your use of alcohol, then there are services and support you can access, including:

Please contact Occupational Health if you have further questions about the support available.

You can also download the free Dry January app, which will help you to meet your goals, whether you want to take on Dry January, cut down your drinking, or go totally alcohol-free. You can use this app at any time to understand your drinking patterns.

 

 

 

 



December 12, 2019

Update on national strike negotiations

Filed under: Advice & Support — Mohammed Alam @ 5:35 pm

UCEA the Universities and Colleges Employers Association has announced that it will meet with UCU next week.

The meeting, which will take place on 17 December, will allow UCEA and UCU, the universities and colleges union, to discuss modifications to sector-level work regarding pay and working conditions.

Constructive dialogue on this particular part of the dispute is expected to continue into the New Year and UCEA say they are aiming to arrive at some modifications to sector-level work on the three elements of casual employment, workload and gender pay gaps/ethnicity pay as quickly as possible.

However, UCEA has re iterated that that is has no mandate across the collective employers to revisit the final pay offer.

For more information about this latest development, UCEA has issued a news release on its website.



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.


 

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