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.

Principles and scope

This policy and process is applicable to all staff groups with the exception of those designated as Academic under Charter & Statutes. Staff designated as Academic under Charter & Statutes who assume significant additional managerial responsibility will be remunerated appropriately. All use of such methods will be considered within the context of equal opportunities and equal pay legislation.

This policy should be applied on a temporary basis only. The required duration needed for the cover of the duties must be in excess of six weeks to warrant additional remuneration through the use of this policy. Furthermore 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 Market Pay Supplements policy rather than any other.

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.

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.

Policy

Occasioned by business need, this policy is a formal means of recognition and remuneration for short-term changes in the level of work tasks that employees agree to undertake beyond a temporary six week period which would count as a developmental opportunity. The policy may be used for various cover arrangements but is unlikely to be endorsed as cover for the annual leave of a substantive jobholder.

The opportunity to act up or receive a Higher-level Duties allowance 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 duties will meet regularly with their staff members to review performance, provide support and training and to assess the ongoing suitability of the arrangement.

The financial arrangements 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 arrangements will be subject to superannuation as the individual will be taking on the whole of the higher level job but any higher-level duties allowance payments will not typically be subject to superannuation as they are by nature more temporary in nature and will not therefore count towards pensionable salary unless there is likelihood of extension beyond a year whereupon this will be reviewed. 

Definitions and appropriate usage

Acting-up

Acting-up 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 will be / is vacant for a significant period e.g. in the case of long-term sickness absence, family leave, 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.

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.

This will be treated as an internal secondment with the staff member being put into the role (temporarily) of the substantive role holder.

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 be sporadic then a Higher-level Duties Allowance may be a more appropriate consideration.

Higher-level Duties Allowance

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 will be when an established post will be / is vacant for a significant period e.g. in the case of long-term sickness absence, family leave, buy-out for REF, 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.

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 policy, as opportunity to undertake these duties are in and of themselves a developmental opportunity for employees.

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 or the requirement is for less than six weeks and the duties have been performed in an exceptional way, recognition and reward may be sought retrospectively through the Contribution Related Pay scheme. 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.

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

Acting-up will be treated like an internal secondment. The staff member will be put into the role of the substantive role holder at the lowest pay spine point (PSP) of the grade of the role unless they happen to already be on a grade and spine point overlapping that of the role being acted-up into, whereupon discretionarily they can be put to the next highest PSP for the acting-up period to recognise the higher level of operation.

Higher-level duties

The monetary amount of the 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 [1], the calculation principle 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 over the period, amounts will be re-calculated in respect of the relevant formula.

Higher Level Duties 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. Acting-up arrangements will be subject to superannuation as the individual will be taking on the whole of the higher level job but any higher-level duties allowance payments will not typically be subject to superannuation as they are by nature more temporary in nature and will not therefore count towards pensionable salary unless there is likelihood of extension beyond a year whereupon this will be reviewed. 

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 / Director of Operations / Head of Professional Services and their HR representative how the duties may be appropriately covered and resourced, the duration needed and how it may be funded.

The line manager will liaise with the appropriate individual(s) to work out costings and get provisional budgetary approval from the Director of Operations / Head of Professional Services prior to the work being offered. This may include a conversation with the Research Grants office where it relates to someone on a research grant. If the grant will not cover the costs the Director of Operations will need to be asked to provisionally approve the paying of any additional costs from School funds.

In the case of Higher Level Duties a written statement of the duties will be produced by the line manager.

Formal approval will 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 any appointment and/or allowance will be for 6 months or under only in the 1st instance in line with College’s Recruitment & Selection Policy and 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 the details and associated 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 / Director of Operations / 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 Performance Management Policy and Procedure for guidance on the management of the situation.

Due to the temporary nature of Acting-up situations 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 to ensure accurate payment. Any arrangement will be deemed to come to an end at the designated end date and no extension/continuation will be considered without an overall review of the business needs and additional authorisation.

Human Resources will monitor and report on Acting-up situations 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 these opportunities will be monitored by Human Resources in respect of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, 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(s).

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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