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Casual Professional and Sessional Academic Staff Employment procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 9 April 2024.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the process for recruiting and employing casual professional and sessional academic staff at the University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to casual professional and sessional academic staff employed by the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is pursuant to the Employment of Staff policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Recruitment

(5) Casual professional and sessional academic employment enables a Head of Organisational Unit or nominee to engage staff on a flexible and short-term basis to meet their areas' operational business needs during peak work periods, for identified tasks, and/or to cover short term absences.

(6) A position description is not required for casual professional and sessional academic appointments. 

(7) Advertising is not compulsory for the recruitment of casual professional and sessional academic staff. The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee may offer such work to prospective staff on the basis of referrals or knowledge of the prospective staff member.

(8) The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee may request the assistance of People Services in recruiting casual professional and sessional academic staff, which may include assistance in advertising a specific employment opportunity on the Deakin careers site. People Services can also provide a Head of Organisational Unit or nominee with access to the DeakinRecruit casual register to identify suitable people who have already expressed interest in casual work at Deakin.

(9) The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee must conduct an informal interview with a prospective casual staff member to discuss the work requirements. The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee is responsible for ensuring the prospective casual professional or sessional academic staff member:

  1. has the necessary skills and competencies;
  2. has the right to work in Australia;
  3. identifies any conflicts of interest in undertaking the casual employment in accordance with the Declaration of Interest procedure; and
  4. holds a current Employee Working with Children Check in accordance with the University’s Working with Children Check Guidelines.

(10) The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee must obtain a minimum of one verbal or written reference check or a vouch from a current Deakin staff member attesting to the capability and suitability of the person to successfully perform the work proposed. The name of the staff member vouching must be recorded in DeakinRecruit and the reference or written notes must be uploaded to DeakinRecruit.

Employment of new casual professional or sessional academic staff

(11) The Head of Organisational Unit or nominee must engage the appointee via DeakinRecruit for Casuals.

(12) An offer will be made to the appointee, by issuing an Engagement Letter and the Casual and Sessional Staff Terms of Engagement, which includes the following information:

  1. the terms of employment;
  2. the duties to be performed;
  3. the estimated budgeted time allocation;
  4. the rate of pay; and
  5. a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement and the Casual Employment Information Sheet.

(13) The appointee must accept the offer and the terms and conditions of employment in DeakinRecruit before they commence work.  This is required so the appointee can access DeakinPeople including to submit timesheets.

(14) The appointee must provide relevant proof of identity status (including a marriage certificate or statutory declaration in relation to a change of name from that recorded at birth), their Working with Children Check and right to work evidence before they commence work.

(15) The appointee may also be required to provide evidence of qualifications in the form of original documents where this is determined by the supervisor as relevant to the position.

(16) A casual professional or sessional academic may have multiple engagements with the University for different work. Where this is the case, entitlements that relate to hours of work are regulated separately on a contract-by-contract basis.

Induction

(17) During the casual professional or sessional academic staff member's first engagement, their leader should clarify the role and performance expectations of the position with the staff member, and provide any additional information as required including an induction to the University and the local work area.

(18) Sessional academic staff are encouraged to explore the Sessional Academic Experience DeakinHub page, which houses resources tailored for sessional academic staff, as well as supervisors of sessional academic staff.

Variation to a casual engagement

(19) If the current work area, or another area of the University, wishes to engage a casual professional or sessional academic staff member in additional work, the Head of Organisational Unit or nominee must create a new employment record via DeakinRecruit for Casuals. An additional offer will be made to the staff member with the information for that additional work in accordance with clause 12(a) to (e).

(20) If the current work area wishes to update (including location, supervisor or General Ledger distribution) or terminate an existing employee record for a current casual professional or sessional academic staff member, they must use SMARTHR.

Requesting additional hours (sessional academic staff)

(21) The Guide for Supervising Sessional Academic Teaching Staff supports supervisors and workload administrators who oversee sessional academic staff. It outlines best practice for selecting appropriate pay rates, expectations for teaching and marking duties, and estimating marking times.

(22) If a sessional academic staff member considers that tasks require more time than the estimated budgeted time allocation, they must contact the relevant academic supervisor or unit chair to discuss as soon as possible. In making a request, an appropriate level of detail must be provided by the sessional academic staff member in relation to the work being undertaken and the reason for the request.

(23) Requests for additional hours are to be approved prior to the sessional academic staff member undertaking the extra hours of work.

(24) The relevant supervisor will consider the request and the sessional academic member will be advised of the outcome. If the request is approved, the amendment will be processed and the sessional academic staff member can proceed to complete the additional hours accordingly. If the relevant supervisor denies the request, the sessional academic staff member will be advised of the reason, and a discussion will occur on how the remainder of the work will be completed until the original budgeted time allocation is exhausted. Further guidance is available in the Guide for Supervising Sessional Academic Teaching Staff.

Monitoring use of casual staff

(25) The use of casual professional and sessional academic employment should be monitored regularly by the relevant Head of Organisational Unit or nominee taking into account the current and potentially continuing nature of the workload, skill requirements and funding. If the requirements of a position have changed, then the mode of employment should be re-assessed.

(26) People Services will regularly audit and terminate inactive casual professional or sessional academic records. An appointment that has been inactive for more than 20 weeks may be terminated by People Services.

(27) The relevant Head of Organisational Unit or nominee is responsible for ensuring that the hours worked by a casual professional or sessional academic staff member are reasonable and take into consideration the needs of the University and the needs of the staff member. Guidelines for ensuring casual staff are working reasonable hours are available to support Faculties and Portfolios in meeting their health, wellbeing and legal responsibilities. 

Re-employment of staff

(28) Staff whose continuing or fixed term employment at the University has ceased due to redundancy (whether voluntary or otherwise) cannot be eligible to apply for re-employment at the University in any capacity, including as a casual professional or sessional academic staff member, for two years from their cessation date.

(29) If a Head of Organisational Unit or nominee wants to re-employ a person who has previously performed casual work for the University and whose casual jobs have expired, they will need to engage the casual appointee via DeakinRecruit for Casuals. If the appointee has not worked at Deakin for more than 20 weeks’ they will be required to provide relevant proof of identity, right to work, working with children check and qualifications (where relevant) again.

Timesheets

(30) Casual professional and sessional academic staff members are paid by submitting an online casual timesheet through DeakinPeople. Casual professional and sessional academic staff must submit timesheets fortnightly, at a minimum. By submitting the timesheet the staff member is confirming that the hours recorded in the timesheet are a true and accurate reflection of the hours worked. 

(31) Leaders will ensure casual professional and sessional academic staff submit timesheets at a minimum on a fortnightly basis. Leaders must review and action submitted timesheets by approving or denying each timesheet submission prior to the fortnightly pay cut off. The leader will only approve the timesheet where they are satisfied that:

  1. the hours recorded in the timesheet are a true and accurate reflection of the hours worked;
  2. the work performed was for a legitimate operational business need;
  3. the correct time reporting code has been selected for the work performed; and
  4. the hours claimed are in accordance with approved budget and agreed working hours.

(32) If the leader delegates timesheet approval, the delegate must:

  1. have the appropriate financial delegation in accordance with the Delegations Policy; and
  2. be able to verify the requirements set out in clause 31(a)-(d).

Minimum period of engagement

(33) Casual professional staff will be engaged for the following minimum periods, unless otherwise agreed to meet their personal circumstances:

  1. 1 hour for staff with a primary occupation at the University or elsewhere outside the University
  2. 1 hour for current students of the University; and
  3. 3 hours for all others.

(34) Sessional academic staff will be employed by the hour and paid on an hourly basis.

Termination of engagement

(35) A casual professional or sessional academic appointment may be terminated at any time by either the Head of Organisational Unit or nominee or the staff member.

(36) Where a casual professional or sessional academic staff member has been employed on a regular and systematic basis by the University for more than six months, the relevant leader should seek advice from People Services if they no longer wish to engage the staff member.

Supervisor responsibilities and access to facilities

(37) Where possible, the University will seek to provide all sessional academic staff members undertaking work during a teaching period access to information technology and library facilities for the entire teaching period in which they have undertaken their teaching duties.

(38) Leaders are responsible for arranging for casual professional and sessional academic staff members to be provided with access to the appropriate systems, resources and information in order to undertake the relevant duties of the engagement.

(39) Leaders are responsible for ensuring that appropriate communication and protections are in place where the duties require the staff member to access to any type of sensitive information. This is particularly important when engaging students. Leaders should contact People Services for further advice in relation to this area as required.

(40) Leaders must be aware of any limitations to their staff members’ work rights and ensure that the work allocated is in accordance with any work right limitations (where relevant).

Superannuation

(41) Casual professional and sessional academic staff are covered by Part 3A Choice of Fund Requirements of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992.

(42) If an alternative fund is not nominated, or Deakin is not otherwise required by law to make contributions to an alternative  fund, contributions will then be made to Deakin’s default fund, UniSuper, pursuant to the UniSuper Trust Deed (as amended from time to time) and in accordance with the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2023 (2023 EA).

Casual long service leave

(43) Where a casual professional or sessional academic staff member has completed seven years of regular and systematic service with the University without having a break of greater than 20 weeks, they will be eligible for long service leave.

(44) Further information is provided on the Causal Long Service Leave DeakinHub site.

Additional duties for Academic staff

(45) If an Academic staff member is requested by their supervisor to undertake sessional duties in addition to and separate from the duties specified in their continuing or fixed-term contract, they are deemed to be a sessional academic staff member for the extra hours worked. In taking on these additional sessional duties the academic cannot work for the University more than 1.0 FTE.

Conversion from casual employment

Casual conversion

(46) Casual professional or sessional academic staff employed by the University may be eligible to apply for conversion to ongoing employment (casual conversion) in accordance with:

Eligible staff Eligibility criteria Legislative framework
Sessional academic staff and casual professional staff - employed for a period of 12 months; and
- during the last six months have worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis which, without significant adjustment, they could continue to work as either a full-time or part-time employee.
Division 4A  Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
Schedule F 2023 EA

(47) Staff should contact People Services for further information on casual conversion.

(48) The University may approve or refuse an application for casual conversion. The University may refuse an application for casual conversion on reasonable grounds in accordance with clause 66C of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and/or clauses 5 and 8 of, Schedule F of the 2023 EA.  The University will provide reasons for the refusal in writing.

Appointment to continuing positions – sessional academic staff

(49) The University recognises the importance of providing opportunities for continuing and fixed-term employment wherever possible to improve job security within the University. In doing so, it is acknowledged that sessional academic staff play an essential role within the University, including but not limited to providing academic industry and clinical expertise. 

(50) Pursuant to clauses 15.3 – 15.7 of the 2023 EA, to create secure employment options for sessional academics the University will provide opportunities for current sessional academic staff to be appointed to continuing or fixed-term positions, including: 

  1. Education-focused Academic positions, in accordance with clause 18 of the 2023 EA; and 
  2. Academic positions, in accordance with clause 15.5 of the 2023 EA.

(51) The continuing or fixed-term positions identified in clause 49 will be either full-time or part-time and a minimum of 0.5 FTE, unless agreed otherwise. 

(52) Current sessional academic, means a person who is currently engaged as a sessional academic or who has been engaged by the University as a sessional academic within two years prior to the time of advertising. 

Development of sessional academic staff engaged in teaching

(53) A sessional academic staff member who is/has been engaged to deliver teaching for at least one teaching period within an Academic Year will be entitled to access and be compensated for the following hours of learning and development activities annually:

  1. the internally developed online professional development program ‘Teaching Essentials’ (2 hours); and
  2. specific professional development training within the work unit (1 hour); and
  3. a sessional academic suite of online compliance training (1 hour) as outlined on the Staff Development website.

(54) Eligible sessional academic staff members will be entitled to complete the above training, subject to their leaders approval, and upon completion will be paid the corresponding amount of hours.

(55) Payment and offerings of additional professional development outside of clause 50 (a-c) of this Procedure is at the discretion of their leader.

Foreign interference 

(56) Casual Professional and Sessional Academic staff must be assessed for their ability to influence or interfere in University activities. For further information see the International Relations Regulation policy, the Deakin University Foreign Interference page or contact the Office of General Counsel as to how the University assesses and manages the risks associated with its foreign interactions.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(57) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. casual professional and sessional academic staff: professional or academic staff engaged by and paid on an hourly basis, with a loading to compensate for benefits (such as recreation and sick leave) for which a casual or sessional employee is not eligible.
  2. Head of Organisational Unit: means the Vice-Chancellor, a member of the Executive, an Executive Dean, a Pro Vice-Chancellor, a Head of School or Department, an Executive Director, a Director (including a Director of an Institute), University Librarian and General Counsel.