General questions
  Question Answer
1
What is a fixed-term contract?

A contract that has a start and an end date. It is defined as one which expires upon:

  • The occurrence of a specified event;
  • Completion of a specified task or project; and
  • A fixed date, other than an Employee's normal or agreed retirement age.

In terms of the Labour Relations Act there must be a justifiable reason for the contract.

Those staff who are paid below the BCEA threshold (currently R241 110,59 per annum) enjoy more protection under the LRA.

2
Why is the change coming into effect now?

The new Fixed-Term Contracts Policy was approved by Council in March 2023 and therefore needs to be implemented.

We are aligning our benefits in terms of leave and pay to ensure equitable benefits for all staff, where possible.

3
Where can I find the new Fixed-Term Contracts Policy? Click here to access the policy.
4

Does this apply to staff that previously worked for UCT?

No, it is only applicable to staff in service and or who are starting as at the effective date, which is 01 July 2023.
5
What is the difference between T1 and T2 fixed-term contracts?

T1: Fixed-term contracts of 24 months and less.These contracts have limited benefits.

T2: Fixed-term contracts of more than 24 months. There is no upper limit in terms of contract duration. Some benefits are aligned to those for permanent staff members.

6
I am currently on a fixed-term contract. What happens to my conditions of service on 1 July 2023? Your conditions will be aligned to the new Fixed-Term contracts policy.
7
Does this policy apply to students?

It would depend on the nature of the appointment.  

If the appointment is linked to their studentship and the primary beneficiary is the student then this policy will not apply to them.  

If it is not linked to their studentship and the primary beneficiary is the university who, via the appointment of a student, fulfils an operational need, then this policy will apply to them.  

Note: All student appointments are limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week, across all appointments.

8
Does this policy apply to adhoc or paid on claim appointments? No. It is not applicable to adhoc or paid on claim appointments.
9
Does this policy apply to sessional appointments?

It would apply to these appointments if the basic conditions of the fixed-term contracts policy are being met.

Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.

10
I have a staff member currently on a T1 fixed-term contract, and I need the staff member to finish a project. Can I extend their contract in the same position?

We no longer have extensions of contracts of employment. Each contract will be regarded as a new contract.

If the staff member was appointed via a recruitment process, they can receive a new contract. If the new contract takes their total period of employment to more than 24 months, they must be appointed on T2 conditions unless there are justifiable reasons to not do so.

If the staff member was not appointed via a recruitment process, they can receive a new contract for a period not exceeding 12 months. If it is envisaged that there will be a longer-term need for the position, the post must be advertised.

Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.

11
I have a T2 staff member currently on a fixed-term contract, and I need the staff member to finish a project. Can I extend their contract in the same position if they were appointed via a recruitment process?

We no longer have extensions of contracts of employment. Each contract will be regarded as a new contract.

The staff member can receive a new contract on T2 conditions, irrespective of the duration and provided there is a justifiable reason.

12
Can a staff member be re-employed if they were initially appointed on a T1 contract and was rolled over to a T2 contract without a recruitment process or AWA/WOA process having been followed.

If there was no recruitment process followed, the Waiver of Advertisement process needs to be followed to re-employ them on a new T2 contract.

Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.

Benefits
13
How much annual leave am I entitled to? 26 working days per annum (pro-rata for contracts shorter than 12 months). Accrued monthly.
14
How much sick leave am I entitled to?

T1 contract: 2.5 calendar days full pay per month worked. Accrued monthly.

T2 contract: 2.5 calendar days full pay per month worked and 2.5 calendar days half pay per month worked from the 4th year of the T2 contract as per the Sick leave policy. Accrued monthly.

15

I have been employed in Department A on a fixed-term contract and thereafter I am appointed in Department B on another fixed-term contract.

How will this affect my annual leave quota?

If the annual leave is not taken during the first contract, it will need to be paid out.

Therefore, it is strongly advised that line managers must ensure that staff take all annual leave due to them before the contract end date. Leave not taken must be paid out. This avoids the liability being shifted to the next department.

Leave paid out on submission of HR147.

16

I have been employed in Department A on a fixed-term contract and thereafter I am appointed in Department B on another fixed-term contract.

How will this affect my sick leave quota?

A staff member will receive a new sick leave quota each time for T1 contracts.
17

I have been employed in Department A on a fixed-term contract and thereafter I receive a new contract in the same Department and in the same position.

How will this affect my annual leave quota?

T1 contract: Any untaken annual leave will accumulate if the new contract is in the same department and position.  If a new position and/or new department it will not accrue.

T2 contract: Any untaken leave will carry over to the new contract.

18

I have been employed in Department A on a fixed-term contract and thereafter I receive a new contract in the same Department and in the same position.

How will this affect my sick leave quota?

T1 contract: If the new contract is in the same department and position, sick leave will accrue.  If a new position and/or new department sick leave will not accrue.

T2 contract: Any untaken sick leave will carry over to the new contract as per the Sick Leave policy.

19
What if the department cannot afford to pay out annual leave? The staff member is entitled to be paid for untaken leave. If the department cannot afford to pay out the leave, the LM must ensure that the leave is taken before the contract end date.
20
What is the implication for the Line Managers (LM) in respect of annual leave?

LM must understand the financial impact of the leave change and how to manage it going forward.

All payments for untaken leave will be paid from the departmental/unit budget.

LM will need to ensure that leave is either taken before the contract end date and or the period by which leave is meant to be taken.

21
Does UCTRF and Medical Aid apply when the contract offered is more than 24 months (T2) and continues with every new contract irrespective of the duration of the new contract if subsequent contracts are continuous? Yes, the staff member will continue on benefits.
22
When do benefits (UCTRF & Med Aid) apply to staff who are employed year on year e.g., Research appointments linked to funding being secured annually?

The benefits will only be applicable if the employment is on T2 or permanent conditions. Any appointment up to 24 months will not have these benefits.   If a staff member was appointed via a recruitment process on a T1 contract and now enters their third year of service, their conditions of service will change to T2 conditions.

Any deviations to this would need to be considered by the Director: HR Client Services.  Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.

23 If I have been employed at the University continuously for several years, do I get the benefit of Long Service Awards? Yes, provided it complies with the policy.
A break in service of less than 6 months is considered when calculating Long Service Awards.
Remuneration & Cost of Employment (COE)
24 Will my COE remain the same with the changes to the Fixed-Term Contracts policy?

Yes, there will be no changes to COE for fixed-term contracts currently in place.

However, your COE could change/be renegotiated with each new contract. Line Managers must contact the HRBP to discuss the options.

25 Will there be a change to the COE ranges? There are no changes currently. Line managers are encouraged to apply the permanent ranges/SASP for offers to staff where positions have been evaluated or performance aligned to SASP.
26 For Research staff, funding is limited, and I cannot pay at the UCT maximum rates, what do I do? Can UCT force me to pay at the maximum COE/SASP rate? Where possible the department will have to pay at the UCT rates. If the department cannot pay at this rate, they will need to provide a motivation letter explaining the reason for this, including a commitment to either reduce hours or align should further funding become available. This will need to be considered by the HR Business Partner, HOD and Dean.

Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.
27 Do I have to pay the fixed-term contract staff member on standard package or SASP, if I employed them for example 2 years and 6 months and now want to re-appoint them to a new term? Yes, if they have continuous service and a good track record from a performance perspective, then they should be appointed on the same salary as their permanent counterparts.

The principle of equal pay for work of equal value is applicable.
28 If I am earning below the BCEA threshold and my contract exceeding 24 months ends, what is the process for the payment of the severance-like package?

If you are not re-employed, you will be entitled to be paid a severance-like package. Please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance with this.

Notes:
— The severance-like payment will be in line with the BCEA calculation (one week’s pay for each completed year of service)
— Only applicable to staff earning below the threshold and contracts exceeding 24 months.
— The final delegated authority for the payment of the severance-like package is the Employee Relations Management Committee (ERMC).

29 If I am earning below the BCEA threshold and my contract exceeding 24 months ends and I enter into a new fixed-term contract and again earning below the BCEA threshold, will I be paid the severance-like package? Yes, you will be entitled to receive a severance-like package when your contract ends, and you leave the employ of the University.
30 Will I get the severance-like package if I have continuous service of more than 24 months and am then appointed to a new role and or a new period linked to an operational requirement but no longer earning below the BCEA threshold? No, as this is seen as alternate employment.
31 What constitutes a break in service to qualify for the severance-like package if earning below the BCEA threshold? A break in service of a period longer than three months entitles a staff member to be paid the severance-like package. If alternate employment is found within UCT, within a three-month period, a staff member will not be entitled to a severance-like package.