Terms and Conditions

I'm an EU national in the UK and am concerned about my status after Brexit

The University employes staff from the European Economic Area who may be concerned about their immigration status when the UK leaves the EU.  This guidance sets out some information about the current position and includes a flowchart to help EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members assess their rights in the UK. It also outlines the headline requirements for citizenship of the countries in the EEA.

Update August 2017

On 26th June the Government published 'Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU', a detailed paper that outlines proposals for the rights and status of EU citizens following Brexit. Please click here for a policy paper factsheet.

Further support can be obtained from your HR Business Partner.  See our Who to contact page for more information.

Update September 2017

The Home Office have released an update - please click here for further information.

What is academic workloading?

Academic staff and Academic Team Leaders participate in the annual Academic Workloading process.

Team Leaders meet with their team members at the start of the academic year to agree each individual's workload with them.  They then record this on WorkLoadPlan web-based IT system.

The academic staff member can log in and view their workload at any time, and request changes via their Team Leader if appropriate.  Regular changes can be made to the workload during the year to ensure that it reflects the actual activity that is undertaken and to take account of unexpected changes in activity or prolonged absence.

Individuals can also transparently view the workloads of colleagues in their team.

The individual academics will be asked to approve their workload as being accurate in order that the data can be used as part of the Transprarent Approach to Costing (TRAC) Return to HEFCE.

More information about Academic Workloading and WorkLoadPlan.

What are the term dates and academic calendar?

You can find our term dates and academic calendar, including what academic week number it is, here.

What is my notice period?

Your notice period will be specific to your terms and conditions of employment, however for employees of the University employed on our standard terms and conditions, the normal notice periods are as follows:

Staff Group / Grade Notice you have to give the University to end your contract
Support Grade A to D 1 month
Support Grade E to G 3 months
Academic Grade D 1 month
Academic Grade E to G 2 months
Professor/Senior Manager 3 months

(These may be different from the legal or contractual notice the University has to give you.)

If you are thinking of leaving the University and wish to agree a suitable date you should speak to your line manager in the first instance.  You can have this discussion earlier than the time scales indicated above, without committing yourself to leaving, and this may be helpful in ensuring a smooth handover and arranging any replacement for your role.

Pay, Benefits and Personal Details

How can I get a staff card?

The University staff card allows staff to access a range of benefits and discounts both on and off campus, including access to the free campus bus and use of the University library.

The staff card also acts as a contactless key for out-of-hours access to buildings (or certain rooms and floors).  If in discussion with your line manager you identify that you require out-of-hours access then you will need a staff card.

To get a Staff Card you need to be a member of staff currently employed by the University of Sunderland, and you need to upload a passport-style photo of yourself.

More information about Staff Cards.

How do I change my address?

If your home address has changed, please email your new address to the HR Assistant who supports your Faculty or Service.  They will amend your record, and inform Payroll (who will in turn communicate with your pension scheme if applicable.)

More information.

Do you offer a cycle to work scheme?

The University relaunched its Cycle to Work scheme in 2015, in conjunction with Halfords.  There is a sign-up window each year (initially 21st September – 14th October 2015).

The cycle to work scheme is a Government-approved salary sacrifice initiative allowing you to hire a bike and accessories from your employer for the purpose of cycling to work.  Salary Sacrifice is a contractual agreement whereby your salary is reduced by a given amount in return for the employer providing a benefit, usually of the same value. The reduction in salary means your National Insurance contributions and tax will actually be reduced. Therefore you can make savings whilst keeping fit, reducing your carbon footprint and spending less time in the car.

We also offer other salary sacrifice schemes including Childcare Vouchers.

To find out more visit our Payroll Forms and Deductions page.

What is my salary?

Our locally-negotiated grading structure is clear and transparent and includes analytical job evaluation of all roles on the pay spine to ensure pay equality.

The University payscales can be found here.

What are the Payroll deadlines?

Our Payroll Deadlines indicate when claims need to be submitted in order to be processed and paid, including Overtime, Academic Tutor and Casual Worker claims.

You can find our deadlines here.

Is my pension changing?

Public sector pension schemes are seeing a lot of changes at the moment.  Most or our staff are in either the Teachers Pensions scheme (TPS) or Local Government (Tyne and Wear) Pension scheme (LGPS) both of which changed their rules in recent years. We also have a few staff who stayed in the USS pension scheme when they joined us - that scheme is implementing major rule changes in April 2016.

The single-tier state pension changes in April 2016 - which will mean that all our penson scheme members pay more national insurance, and so have less take-home pay.

We have a wealth of other information on our website, including the Benefits of a pension and Retirement Options.

Will my National Insurance contributions go up?

From April 2016 there are some important changes to the state pension and national insurance for pension scheme members - these may sound dry, but they could mean that you pay more national insurance contributions.  Find out more

How can I ask for a regrading?

Every role that is created or replaced in the University is allocated an appropriate grade on our pay and grading structure.  For roles that use our negotiated pay spine, the mechanism for grading roles is the HERA (Higher Education Role Analysis) tool for job evaluation.

It is recognised that roles may also change significantly over time as a result of reorganisation or changes within individual teams, departments, Faculties or Services.  Individuals or managers can make formal requests to reconsider the grade of existing roles, through our .  This procedure ensures that all roles are graded correctly and in line with analytical job evaluation principles.

More information about Role Reviews.

Work-Life Balance and Wellbeing

What is my annual leave entitlement?

We offer generous annual leave entitlements, and also the opportunity to buy additional holidays.

Annual leave and public holiday entitlements are calculated by the HR Management Information team and are sent to a named contact within each Faculty and Service at the beginning of the holiday year (September).  Faculties and Services are then responsible for recording and retaining the information.

New staff will be told their annual leave entitlement in their contract documentation. Any change to this entitlement (e.g. an extension to a fixed term contract/change in hours etc) is communicated to individual employees through their confirmation letter from HR.  The employee is then responsible for updating their line manager and/or their leave records.  

Any queries regarding Annual Leave entitlements should be raised with your line manager in the first instance, or please see the Annual Leave and Public Holiday Calculator which allows you to check by making your own calculation.

Read more about Annual Leave entitlements.

How can I ask to work flexibly?

We aim to provide you with  opportunities to balance work and personal life.  If you know you need some flexibility but you're not sure where to start, speaking to your manager or team leader is a good first step.  Or you can contact your HR Manager to find out what kinds of options may be available.  Please see our guidance on flexibility and work-life balance for more information.

 

I need time off to deal with an emergency

We have a wide range of policies and options to support flexibility and work-life balance.

We offer a variety of enhanced paid leave, but we know there may be times when you need to take time away from work for reasons that don't necessarily fall under our enhanced paid provisions.

If you need time off urgently you should speak to your line manager or team leader as soon as possible and explain.  It may not always be possible, but we strive to be flexible in allowing staff time off to deal with domestic emergencies and other unexpected events, whether this is taking some of your annual leave at short notice or additional unpaid leave.

You can find more detail about unpaid time off for emergencies in our Special Leave Policy.

Can I get help if I'm feeling stressed or can't cope?

Yes.  We offer access to a wide range of support including online therapy (Silvercloud), a free helpline, occupational health and staff counselling. 


To find out more see our section on stress and mental wellbeing.

Can I retire early?

If you are in one of our our workplace pension schemes, early access to pension benefits before the Normal Pension Age may be a possibility.  The rules vary from scheme to scheme, but (other than in cases of serious ill health) early retirement is normally available from age 55 at the earliest.  If you choose to take pension early it will normally be ‘actuarially’ reduced.  Our Early Retirement Procedure explains more.  for more information about your retirement see Retirement Options and Flexible working.

Recruitment and Selection

What is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a criminal records check. 

It can be used as part of the recruitment process adopted by the University for specific roles.  It ensures robust and safer recruitment practices and employment decisions.  The University also operates a process of a ‘refresher check’ three years after the previous check was issued, at which time HR will also assess whether the requirement for a DBS check is still relevant.

The University uses an electronic system for processing DBS checks (under Devon County Council).  If you require a DBS check or require any further information please contact the HR Administrator for your Faculty or Service.  You can find contacts information for Human Resources here.

Further information about Safeguarding can be found within the University’s Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults .  

I've been asked to provide a reference

From time to time the University is asked to provide an employment reference for ex-employees.  The University will only supply factual confirmation of employment, which includes employment dates and salary.  Please forward any external reference requests to the HR Assistant who supports the relevant Faculty/Service, whose details can be found on our Contacts and Travel page.

How can I submit a staffing request?

Staffing authorisations are managed within the e-recruitment system via jobs.sunderland.ac.uk.

Once on the home page please log in using your University user name and password, select the staffing authorisation form and click to create a new request.

Once submitted this will automatically start the approval process which include approval from the Dean/Director for the Faculty or Service; the HR Manager with responsible for the Faculty/Service; the Accountant (within Planning & Finance) with responsibility for the Faculty/Service budget; and finally the Director of HR and/or Executive depending on the request.

Please see the  for information.  If you have any queries please contact the HR Business Support Team.