How the University sector is responding to COVID-19

COVID-19 presents the University sector with a unique set of challenges.  These include staffing issues arising from a rapid transition to remote learning, funding shortfalls and proposed fee changes, and the different dynamics impacting local and international enrolments.  Workdynamic is keeping up to date on University employment strategies in this environment and working with a number of our University sector clients on both immediate and longer term approaches.  Some key recent developments include:

  • The University of Melbourne’s staff have rejected the variation proposal to permanently remove their latest pay rise and introduce voluntary redundancy packages.  The University has indicated they will instead move ahead with workforce reductions.
  • Staff at the University of Western Sydney have supported an application for a variation to their enterprise agreements to introduce a ‘banked additional leave’ scheme involving employees purchasing extra leave in connection with specific shutdown dates, in return for a University commitment not to stand down any employees through to the end of 2020.
  • Monash University, University of Western Australia and La Trobe have made similar commitments to achieve temporary cost savings with an assurance of no forced redundancies or stand downs.
  • We are awaiting the outcome of a University of WA vote on a variation to defer pay rises due in January, cancel payment of leave loading and to direct employees to purchase 19 days of additional leave, to be taken over the Christmas and New Year period.  The proposal, supported by the NTEU, is expected to be approved by employees.