Human Resources

Acting-Up and Higher-Level Duties pdf format

Introduction

Birkbeck recognises that opportunities for employees to temporarily act-up into jobs graded at a higher level, or to undertake additional higher-level duties, can be both a positive developmental experience and an appropriate investment by the College in succession training.  Whilst the business needs of the College will be foremost in deciding when it is appropriate to resource and remunerate work in this way, commitment is given to the support and promotion of the professional development of all staff groups and where possible, to make opportunities available for employees to experience work beyond their substantive job role duties.

Delegated Authority

All Managers should identify an individual that is able to act on their behalf during short periods of absence from the college such as sickness, attending a conference or annual leave. This is classed as delegated authority, it is distinct from acting up, and does not attract an allowance. Delegated authority includes authorising staff absences (sickness and holiday), approving invoices or purchase requisitions to enable the department to operate as normal during these periods. Authority can be delegated to a peer, a subordinate or manager and the person delegating authority would be clear what areas of responsibility are within scope.

Principles and scope

This policy and process is applicable to all staff groups with the exception of those designated as Academic under Charter & Statutes. All applications of these allowances will be considered within the context of equal opportunities and equal pay legislation.

Allowances are applicable on a temporary basis only. These arrangements should typically be in place for a maximum period of twelve months and should be reviewed in conjunction with Human Resources at the anniversary to see whether, if required on an ongoing basis, the individual’s role should then be put forward for Re-Grading.

Where changes to an individual’s role duties are to be permanent, reference should be made to the Grading policy appropriate to the particular staff group.

In the case of those working to a unique (rather than generic) job description, where changes to the role are to such an extent that the post could be identified as being a ‘new job’, there may be a requirement to formally advertise the position.  In such cases, reference should be made to the Recruitment & Selection policy.

Where a potential recruitment or retention issue is identified, reference should be made to the Attraction & Retention Payments policy. 

Where an employee’s individual exceptional performance is to be rewarded but the employee’s job has not substantially changed, reference should be made instead to the Contribution Related Pay policy appropriate to the particular staff group.

Policy

Occasioned by business need, Acting-up and Higher-level Duties Allowances are a formal means of recognition and remuneration for temporary changes in the level of work tasks that employees agree to undertake. 

Acting-up and Higher-level Duties allowances will normally be open to competition amongst employees within the relevant School/Department (wherever business needs allow*).  It will be the responsibility of the line manager, the person who will be making the application, to ensure that relevant staff (within the School/Department), are informed of such opportunities.

The line manager of employees undertaking such additional duties will meet regularly with their staff members to review performance, provide support and training and to assess the ongoing suitability of the arrangement.

Allowances will be withdrawn at the completion of the authorised period or sooner if occasioned by unsatisfactory performance or changed business need; at which point the employee will return to their substantive duties and salary.

Acting-up and Higher-level Duties allowance payments typically will not be subject to superannuation and will not therefore count towards pensionable salary.

An application for either allowance will not be endorsed to cover the annual leave of a substantive jobholder.

Definitions and appropriate usage

Acting-up Allowance is a formal means of recognition and remuneration for when an employee temporarily acts-up into the full or majority of the duties of a job role evaluated at a higher grade than that of their substantive position. 

Appropriate usage will be when an established post is vacant for a significant period e.g. in the case of the long-term sickness absence, maternity or secondment leave of a substantive jobholder, or when an established position is vacant, and for planned reasons, recruitment to the position is going to be exceptionally protracted. 

And when an employee is required to cover the full or the majority of the duties of the role graded at the higher level for a continuous period. 

And when the required duration needed for the cover of the duties is in excess of six weeks. 

Consideration of other arrangements may be more appropriate if the requirement is that only a proportion of the duties of the higher graded role need covering, or the time spent on the duties will not be continuous (e.g. Mon to Fri, week following week), a Higher-level Duties Allowance may be a more appropriate consideration.

If the required duration for work duties to be covered is for a period of less than six weeks, it would be expected that resourcing within a School/Department could be temporarily redeployed without recourse to this allowance, as opportunity to act-up of itself will provide reward in the form of a developmental opportunity for employees.  Where such arrangements are made and those undertaking the duties have done so in an exceptional way, reward may be sought retrospectively through the Contribution Related Pay scheme.

If the required duration is anticipated to be for a period in excess of one year, a secondment to the position is likely to be a more appropriate consideration, reference should be made to the College’s Secondment Policy (The Secondment Policy is currently being developed and in the interim advice should be obtained from Human Resources). 

Higher-level Duties Allowance is a formal means of recognition and remuneration for when an employee or group of employees take on sizable higher level extra duties in addition to those of their substantive role duties for a temporary period.  These duties will be at a demonstrably higher level of complexity than those of the individual’s substantive graded duties and typically assigned to a job role evaluated at a higher grade. 

Appropriate usage would be in the case of an established post being vacant for a significant period: which could be occasioned by the long-term sickness absence, maternity leave, buy-out for REF, acting-up or secondment of the substantive jobholder or if for planned reasons recruitment to a vacant established position is going to be exceptionally protracted. 

Additionally a higher-level duties allowance may be approved if there is need for a specific piece of work to be undertaken, the nature of which is evaluated as being at a higher level of complexity than that of the employee’s core substantive duties and where the higher-level duties and substantive role duties will be undertaken at the same time.

And where the additional duties are assessed (with reference to job evaluation methodologies) as being at a higher level of complexity than those of the individual’s core substantive duties.

And where the required duration needed for the cover of the duties is in excess of six weeks. 

Consideration of other arrangements may be more appropriate if the requirement is for an individual to undertake temporary additional duties at a similar level of complexity to those of their substantive role duties.  In such cases, recognition through the Contribution Related Pay scheme may be a more appropriate consideration (where in retrospect a case can be made if duties have been exceptionally well performed).  Alternatively, it may be more apt for line managers to consider the need for the planning and management of TOIL or overtime as a means of covering short-term requirements for increased work volume.

If the required duration for work duties to be covered is for a period of less than six weeks, it would be expected that resourcing within a School/Department could be temporarily redeployed without recourse to this allowance, as opportunity to take on higher-lever duties of itself will provide reward in the form of a developmental opportunity for employees.  Where such arrangements are made and those undertaking the duties have done so in an exceptional way, reward may be sought retrospectively through the Contribution Related Pay scheme.

Where additional higher-level duties or ongoing higher-level project work are anticipated to become an ongoing requirement within a role, consideration should be given to whether the role should be submitted for Re-grading.

Calculation formula and rationale

Acting-up Allowance will be calculated in respect of the difference between an employee’s substantive positioning on the pay spine and that of the lowest pay spine point (PSP) of the grade of the job into which they are acting-up. 

Where an employee is on a grade and pay spine point (PSP) overlapping that of the role being acted-up into, the Acting-up Allowance will be calculated in respect of the difference between the employee’s substantive PSP and that of the next highest PSP of the grade of the job into which they are acting-up. 

In consequence of the fact that the employee will be undertaking the full or majority of duties assigned to a role graded at a higher level, the calculation formula ensures that total remuneration matches that given in payment to a substantive jobholder. 

The monetary amount of the Higher-level duties allowance will be calculated on a proportional basis in respect of the difference between the third PSP of the employee’s substantive grade and that of the lowest PSP of the grade to which the additional higher-level duties are assigned or at the plain hourly rate of the lowest PSP of the grade to which the additional higher-level duties are assigned in the case of Teaching & Scholarship staff.

The allowance amount will be determined by reference to the average number of weekly hours or approved number of plain rated hours in the case of Teaching & Scholarship staff to be spent undertaking the additional higher-level duties then applied to the calculation formula outlined above.

For example, where the requirement is for an individual in substantive Grade 4 to undertake 17.5 hours of duties at Grade 5 - the allowance will be calculated as the difference between pay spine points 18 and 21 divided by 2 or where the requirement is for a Teaching & Scholarship staff member in substantive Grade 7 to undertake 140 hours of duties over a 6 month period at Grade 8 – the allowance will be calculated at the plain hourly rate of the lowest PSP of grade 8; the grade to which the additional higher-level duties are assigned.  

Where an employee’s substantive contracted hours are less than 35 per week and the time spent undertaking additional higher-level duties will be in addition to substantive contracted hours , the calculation principle for the Acting-up Allowance will be applied on a pro rata basis.  The rationale for this is that the additional higher-level duties will be undertaken outside of core contracted hours and therefore not undertaken in tandem with substantive duties.

Other remuneration and progression issues

Where “cost of living” pay awards and/or incremental progression occur during allowance payment periods, allowance amounts will be re-calculated in respect of the relevant formula.

Allowances will be paid monthly or as and when claimed for on a pro-rata basis as an addition to an employee’s substantive salary.  These allowances typically will not be subject to superannuation and will therefore not usually count towards pensionable salary.

Procedure

The line manager identifies the gap and type of duties required to ensure that the work is adequately covered and ascertains in conjunction with their Assistant Dean/School Manager/Head of Professional Services and their HR Manager how the duties may be appropriately resourced, the allowance type(s) most appropriate, the duration needed and how the allowance will be funded. The line manager will liaise with the appropriate individual(s) to work out costings and get provisional budgetary approval from the School Manager/Head of Professional Services prior to the work being offered. This may include a conversation with the Research Grants office where the allowance relates to someone on a research grant. If the grant will not cover the cost of allowances the School Manager will need to be asked to provisionally approve the paying of any allowance from School funds.

A written statement of the duties will be produced by the line manager.

Formal approval will then be sought from the Executive Dean (in the case of Research staff and Teaching & Scholarship staff) or the College Secretary (in the case of Professional & Support staff).

If approved, the line manager will then, where-ever possible within the time constraints* of business needs, contact those employees in surrounding and related roles to discuss the opportunity with them and ascertain who may wish to act-up/undertake higher-level duties. 

{*There may be occasions where due to time constraints in having someone in place to undertake the duties there isn’t sufficient time to advertise, recruit and select. In such cases the appointment and allowance will be for 6 months or under only in the 1st instance in line with College’s Recruitment & Selection Policy and the allowance will not be extended beyond that point without advertisement.}

Where more than one individual expresses an interest, fair and reasonable recruitment & selection processes will be applied (particularly relating to equal opportunities legislation and commitments); which will be in line with the College’s Recruitment & Selection Policy but tailored to the specific need and situation.  Human Resources will provide support where needed.

Once the individual is selected, Human Resources will be notified.  Human Resources will then write to the individual confirming details of the allowance; including a confirmation of duties, reason for them, the allowance amount, the duration or the allowance payment period and all other terms and conditions.

The line manager will identify where the employee acting-up or undertaking higher-level duties has training needs and ensure that these are addressed and that the individual is appropriately supported.  This will be assessed at the outset and revisited in regular review discussions.

The line manager will ensure that the workload is reasonable and will discuss and agree the prioritisation of the work.  In the case of acting-up, the line manager will additionally need to consider how some or all of the employee’s substantive duties will be covered.

Where the undertaking of these duties results in an employee reporting to two or more managers, the Assistant Dean/School Manager/Head of Professional Services will need to be involved from the outset to determine the prioritisation of the work and thus avert conflicts.

In the case of poor performance of the duties, line managers should refer to the informal stages of the Capability(Performance) Policy for guidance on the management of the situation.

Due to the temporary nature of Acting-up and Higher-level Duties Allowances, the line manager will need to stipulate from the outset the intended commencement and finishing dates.  It is the responsibility of the line manager to liaise with Human Resources in a timely way concerning any proposed changes to start and end dates for the payment of these allowances. The allowance will be deemed to come to an end at the designated end date and no extension/continuation of an allowance will be considered without an overall review of the business needs and additional authorisation.

Human Resources will monitor and report on Acting-up and Higher-level Duties Allowances within the equal opportunities context to ensure compliance with equal pay and equal opportunities legislation.

Responsibility

All those persons referred to within the scope of this policy are required to be familiar with its terms. 

Individual line managers are required to keep within the spirit and intent of the policy, as far as possible in their own area.  Any queries on the application or interpretation of this policy must be discussed with the Human Resources team prior to any action being taken.

The allocation of Acting-up and Higher-level Duties allowances will be monitored by Human Resources in respect of gender, ethnicity, disability, age and any other factor pertaining to equality of opportunity.

The Director of Human Resources has the responsibility for ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy.  Revisions, amendments or alterations to the policy will be agreed in consultation, where applicable with the recognised trade unions and the appropriate College committee.

Related Documents

  • Attraction & Retention Payments Policy
  • Capability (Performance) Policy
  • Conflicts of Interest Policy
  • Contribution Related Pay Policy applicable to individual staff group
  • Equal opportunities statement
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Re-Grading Policy applicable to individual staff group
  • Variation in Hours Policy (applicable to Teaching & Scholarship staff)

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email: humanresources@bbk.ac.uk