Introduction | Applicable to | Not applicable to | General conditions of service | Related links


Together with the specific details in your letter of appointment, which takes precedence, this policy overview provides important aspects of the employment contract for staff on academic conditions of service. It must be read in conjunction with UCT's Employee relations policy for all staff. Links are provided wherever a more in-depth policy exists on a condition of service.

Applicable to

Standard academic staff include but are not limited to Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors and Professors.

Not applicable to

PASS staff in pay classes 1 to 12. See: General conditions of service for PASS staff.

General conditions of service

  1. Values and principles
    1. 1.1. As an employee of the University you are required to be familiar with, and heed the UCT Mission Statement and the UCT Statement of Values (see Download on the same web page).
  2. Induction and requirements prior to taking up appointment
    1. 2.1. In the case of citizens of countries other than South Africa who do not have residency status, the appointment is offered subject to the staff member fulfilling any legal requirements in South Africa.

      2.2. Qualification and criminal checks must be cleared prior to the appointment being taken up.

      2.3. Academic staff must go through an induction programme prepared by the head of department, as appropriate for the position. An induction checklist is available to facilitate this process.

  3. Probation and confirmation
    1. 3.1. All newly appointed permanent staff, except for research officers, who are on academic conditions of service (including standard academic staff, academic teaching staff, and clinical academic staff) must fulfil probation requirements. Certain contract staff may also be required to serve probation. The normal period of probation is three years.

      3.2. The probationary period tests the presumption of the appointment, namely, that there is a basis for a long term employment relationship between the member of staff and the University. It also gives the new academic the opportunity of a planned induction, training and appropriate support to gain experience and competence in teaching, research and administration so as to ensure a smooth transition from being a new staff member to becoming an established member of the University, and affords a period of adjustment for an established academic to become acquainted with the University and its academic and governance systems, and structures.

      See: Academic probation policy.

  4. Heads of academic departments
    1. 4.1. The head of an academic department (HOD) occupies a pivotal position. He or she provides leadership and development, and ensures that his or her department flourishes as a well-functioning academic unit. For a full description of this role see: Roles and responsibilities: Headships of academic departments.
  5. Copyrights and licence
    1. 5.1. Teaching and examination material: Academic staff are required to grant the University free licence to reproduce (for teaching and examination purposes within the University only), all teaching and examination material as they may produce in the course of their duties. This provides that such licence would be regarded as having lapsed should the material in question be published in book form by the staff member.

      5.2. Research: UCT encourages research that will lead to the filing of patents for inventions. This appointment is subject to the regulations prescribed in UCT's Intellectual property policy which deals with, amongst other issues, patents and inventions and with the rules and procedures pertaining to intellectual property and copyright ownership.

      5.3. Commercialisation: In terms of UCT's Intellectual property policy: ownership of patents and inventions vests in the University; but the benefits arising from the successful commercialisation of any patents, inventions and other non-copyright IP, are shared between the University and the inventor in accordance with the IP policy.

  6. Additional teaching and private work
    1. 6.1. The first obligation of standard academic staff is to meet their university duties as defined in the letter of appointment (including teaching and/or research, extension and/or related work).

      6.2. That said, the University at its discretion permits full-time academic staff (other than joint UCT/Provincial or UCT/NHLS staff) to engage in professional work for third parties and in private work, under circumstances and subject to conditions it specifies from time to time, because it recognises the importance of this, especially where, as is often the case, it has the potential to contribute to the quality of teaching and research. Private work undertaken by UCT academic staff is subject to approval and the provisions of the Private work policy.

      6.3. Additional work for a formal University programme (a degree, diploma or certificate programme) in a staff member's primary department or another department, is encouraged but must be done with the knowledge of the primary department.

      6.4 In the case of 6.3 above, the understanding is that compensation, if any, is to be by way of transfer of funds from the staffing allocation of the receiving department to the giving department (or to a fund controlled by the Head of the giving department to be used for departmental purposes in the giving department) or to an existing, approved, university-purpose-related fund under the control of the person doing the additional work. Personal payment is not permitted.

      6.5. A member of staff may receive additional payments for work performed, for example on short courses for other departments, provided that:

      1. the Dean has approved the programme, budget and rate of pay;
      2. the staff member has informed his or her Line Manager.
  7. Performance management
    1. 7.1. UCT seeks to provide academic staff with optimal opportunities for professional development and career advancement. To this end, opportunities are afforded annually to each member of the academic staff for planning and reviewing performance with the Head of Department (HOD) and for discussing development issues. Formal performance assessments occur at mid-year.

      See: Performance planning, performance reviews and staff development for academic staff

  8. Promotion
    1. 8.1. Promotion of academic staff is through the ad hominem promotion process.

      8.2. This is only available to academic staff whose appointments have been confirmed (probation has been completed with a favourable outcome).

      8.3. Each faculty has its own ad hominem committee and procedures and makes recommendations for ad hominem promotion to Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor, depending on the level.

      See: Ad hominem promotion

  9. Retirement funding and risk cover

    All permanent and T2 staff are required to become a member of the University's Retirement Fund (UCTRF). An allocation is made to this from your cost of employment (COE). As a member you will receive UCTRF provident retirement benefits as well as death-in-service, funeral and disability cover. The UCTRF allows members to elect their contribution rate, multiple of death cover and a choice of 3 investment portfolios to direct the investment of the monthly retirement funding contributions paid by the University on behalf of the staff member. Further information about the UCTRF and these choices is available on the UCTRF website.
  10. Medical aid
    1. 10.1. Staff on permanent conditions of service are required to become members of the University's medical aid scheme unless they are a spouse/partner dependant on a registered South African medical aid scheme. Foreign medical insurance is not acceptable.

      10.2. Staff on T2 conditions of service are required to become members of the University's medical aid scheme unless they provide proof of membership on own or partner/spouse's registered South African medical aid scheme. Foreign medical insurance is not acceptable.

      10.3. Staff on T1 conditions of service do not qualify to belong to UCT's medical aid scheme.

      10.4. A choice of levels and types of cover within the scheme is allowed. The medical aid contribution is a direct deduction from net pay and attracts tax relief as allowed by SARS.

      See: Medical aid policy.

  11. Tuition fees
    1. 11.1 Staff who undertake study at UCT, or whose dependant partner or dependent children do so, may be eligible for a staff rate on tuition fees. See: Staff tuition rate policy.

  12. Hours of work
    1. 12.1. The notional work hours for academic staff used as a basis for benefits calculation are 40 hours per week.

      12.2. The expectations for actual hours of work and presence on campus are a matter of individual arrangement between the staff member and his or her Head of Department.

  13. Leave
    1. 13.1  Annual leave accrues monthly at the rate of 2.17 days, based on 26 working days per annum in calendar year cycles.. 

      13.2. Academic staff may take annual leave in the year in which he or she earns it, or in the calendar year following the year in which he or she earns it.

      13.3. Accrued annual leave not taken by the end of the following calendar year is lost, unless the staff member through the Head of Department can show, via a written motivation to the satisfaction of the Dean (as delegated authority from DVC for this approval) that there were good operational reasons why the leave could not be taken. Leave to be postponed in this way must be requested before completion of the calendar year concerned and must be taken as early as possible in the following year. Annual leave cannot be cashed in.

      13.4. A staff member may not take leave before it has accrued. He or she may take annual leave in the year in which he or she earns it, or in the calendar year following the year in which he or she earns it.

      13.5. Several other types of leave may be approved as necessary. Annual, sick, family responsibility, parental leave (previously maternity and paternity) and special leave are each described in more detail in the University's Leave policy.

      13.6. Study & research and contact leave is provided to certain academic staff to enable them to devote themselves to a period of uninterrupted study and/or research (sabbatical) of a kind that is of benefit to the University and scholarship generally. Permanent full-time academic staff who fulfil the requirements of teaching and learning, research and administration are eligible for this benefit. See: Study & research and contact leave policy.

  14. Religious holidays
    1. 14.1. Staff members wishing to take time off to observe a religious holiday that is not a public holiday are required to use annual leave.

      14.2. Muslim staff members wishing to take time off to attend midday prayer meetings on Fridays are required to make up the time lost by arrangement with their Head of Department.

  15. Discipline and grievances
    1. 15.1. In addition to the conditions of service outlined in this policy, an employee is required to maintain certain standards of conduct and performance. Failure to do so may result in a disciplinary process being initiated. See: Disciplinary procedures.

      15.2. Grievance procedures exist for any serious matters, other than conditions of service and salary, which a staff member wishes to bring to the attention of management. See: Academic grievance procedures.

  16. Confidentiality and security
    1. 16.1. A staff member may not disclose or communicate to any unauthorised person any information relating to the work entrusted to him or her or relating to the work of any other staff member or UCT student. Neither may information obtained in the course of employment at the University and relating to any staff member, student or University activity be communicated.

      16.2. A staff member may not use information obtained in the course of employment at the University for personal gain or for the benefit of any other person or organisation without written authority to do so.

      16.3. It is a dismissible offence for any staff member to communicate information as defined in point 16.1 above to the South African Police Service or to any other state or private security agency without written authority.

  17. Conflict of interest
    1. 17.1. In order to ensure compliance with Section 34(4) of the Higher Education Act, all staff are required to declare any business or relationships that may raise a conflict of interest, or possibility of conflict of interest with the University.

      17.2. Researchers, especially Principal Investigators (PIs), have special obligations to make full declarations of any financial interest when involved or intent to be involved in any U.S. federally funded project, and if in doubt must consult the office of the Manager of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

      See: Conflict of Interest policy.

  18. Equipment and clothing
    1. 18.1. Staff members are responsible for University property issued to them.

      18.2. Written or oral instructions about the operation of equipment or machinery must be strictly observed. Staff are not to operate machinery, motors, power switches, pipes or valves, unless specifically authorised to do so.

      18.3. Where overalls and other protective clothing are provided by the University, staff are required to wear them when working. Staff working in dangerous conditions are required to wear the protective clothing provided (such as helmet or safety goggles). Failure to comply with this provision may result in disciplinary action being taken against the staff member.

      18.4. If provided with such apparel, the cost will be covered by UCT. However if lost or damaged, excluding normal wear and tear, the University is entitled to recover the cost of such article from your earnings.

      18.5. Clothing shall remain your property and you are required to clean it in your own time.

  19. Occupational health and safety
    1. 19.1. UCT is committed to promoting safety at work. As a member of staff you are expected to promote occupational safety and refrain from unsafe practices. When the need arises, you may be required by your line manager, in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to undertake specific duties relating to health and safety at the workplace. See: UCT's Health and safety policy and our Occupational health and safety page.

      19.2. If a staff member is injured while on duty, he or she is required to report the accident immediately to his or her head of department or supervisor. See: Occupational Health resources.

  20. Resignation and notice periods
    1. 20.1. A permanent academic member of staff may terminate his or her appointment by giving six months' notice, in writing, provided that, where the last day of the notice period would have fallen in January, the notice period be shortened so that the appointment terminates in December.

      20.2. Any departure from this provision is subject to the approval of the Head of Department, supported by the Dean and the Executive Officer.

  21. Retirement and emeritus status
    1. 21.1. Retirement and post-retirement appointments are subject to the provisions of the Retirement policy.

      21.2. Deferred retirement is available for A and B1 rated researchers only.

      21.3. An academic staff member who retires from the University as a Professor or an Associate Professor may be elected by Senate on the nomination of the Dean to be an Emeritus Professor or an Emeritus Associate Professor as the case may be, and shall on election enjoy the rights and privileges of emeritus rank. Normally at least ten years' service at the University is a prerequisite but Senate does consider exceptions. See: Emeritus Professors and Emeritus Associate Professors.

  22. Gifts
    1. 22.1. The acceptance by staff of gifts and/or hospitality from applicants, relatives of applicants, or suppliers of goods or services is, in general, forbidden. It could lead to disciplinary action, summary dismissal and the termination of dealings with the supplier concerned.

      22.2. This rule does not apply to acceptance of:

      1. advertising matter of little value on which the name of the advertiser is indelibly imprinted, such as pens, diaries or calendars
      2. occasional entertainment such as lunches, cocktail parties and dinners
      3. occasional personal hospitality such as tickets to sporting or theatrical events - provided that the cost of transport and accommodation is borne by the recipient in the case of events more than a "bus ride away from the University".

      22.3. Favours that fall outside these limits must be declined. This applies particularly to offers of materials or services from suppliers free of charge or at artificially low prices, weekends at holiday resorts or payment of hotel or entertainment bills and free aircraft tickets while travelling locally or abroad.

      22.4. Further to the above, the giving and receiving of gifts is subject to ethical, financial and tax considerations as outlined in UCT's Gifts and Hospitality Policy.

  23. Smoking
    1. 23.1. Smoking is banned in all University buildings on all campuses.

  24. Firearms and dangerous weapons
    1. 24.1. The carrying of firearms and dangerous weapons is prohibited on University property.

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Page last updated: 3 November 2022