People and Culture Policy

Policy code: PC2074
Policy owner: Chief Operating Officer
Approval authority: Vice-Chancellor and President
Approval date: 02 July 2024
Next review date: 06 December 2027


This policy mandates the People and Culture structures and operations for staff, contractors and volunteers of Federation University in accordance with the Federation University Australia Act 2010 and any other applicable legislative and regulatory bodies.

This policy supports the Federation University Regulation – Operations and must be followed in conjunction with supporting procedures, operating manuals and work instructions.

Reconciliation statement

As a leading Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) organisation, Federation University is deeply committed to embedding reconciliation and Indigenous matters throughout all areas of the University. Our key policy areas will complement and engage with our RAP and several Indigenous strategies in across the University.

Anti-Modern Slavery Statement

Federation University Australia acknowledge that modern day slavery and the exploitation of an individual's rights and freedoms is a complex global issue. We are committed in doing our part to identify and prevent instances of modern slavery in all forms.

Policy statement

(Note: definitions throughout this Policy can be accessed via the Policy Glossary which is currently under development)

People and Culture oversees recruitment, professional development and working conditions of Federation University all staff (and contractors and volunteers where relevant). People and Culture seek to ensure equitable workplace practices that reflect the knowledge and skills of general, academic and TAFE employees, encourage ongoing professional development and the conditions that make Federation University an employer of choice.

This policy statement covers the employee life cycle, from recruitment through to exit. The policy is formed using the following the documents as a reference:

1. Recruitment

1.1 Recruitment, merit and selection

Federation University is committed to the recruitment and appointment of staff using fair, transparent, and equitable practices that support the University’s strategic direction.

Our recruitment and appointment decisions are aligned to the strategic goals and priorities of the University and the Strategic Plan. They will support our values of inclusion, innovation, excellence, empowerment and collaboration as outlined in Federation’s Living Values Charter with the principles of equal opportunity, wherein individuals are appointed based on their achievements relative to opportunity.

The qualifications, experience and capabilities required for each position are determined to ensure that the quality of the University’s operations and services are maintained and continually improved. Preference for appointment will be given to current University employees, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees employed by the University following successful completion of their traineeship. Appointments will be made based on an applicant's merit and will be free from bias and unlawful discrimination.

A Fit and Proper Person declaration must be completed as a requirement for High Managerial Agents within the University and is required by tertiary education regulatory bodies.

Where an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest exists within the recruitment of staff, this must be declared and appropriate processes followed to ensure the principal of fairness, transparency and equitability are maintained.

Federation University reserves the right to advertise vacancies and make no appointment.

To recognise distinguished persons, who are not staff members of the University, and to establish a mutually beneficial formal relationship between the individual and the University contributing to teaching and research, the University may recommend an Honorary Adjunct or Visiting Appointment.

Federation University utilises probation periods in determining an appropriate match between an employee, the position, and the work environment, and whether the person is able to perform the inherent requirements of the position.

Probation periods may be extended for a period no longer than the initial probation period or a maximum of six months to allow the employee to address performance and/or conduct issues. Probation periods may also be extended in circumstances where the employee has taken an extended period of approved leave.

The University may terminate an appointment if:

  • an employee is unsuited to the position they hold, either by reason of performance or conduct; and/or
  • claims made by the employee during the selection process were either untrue or not substantiated by performance in the position.

The employee will be advised of the reasons and justification for the decision and given an opportunity to respond. Termination will be in accordance with the provision of the Fair Work Act 2009 and by mutual agreement, payment in lieu can be made.

Supporting documents

1.2 Supporting diversity and inclusion

Federation University staff appointments must support our commitment to enable staff of all backgrounds, cultures, abilities, gender, and other identifiers to succeed at work. All appointments will be in accordance with the Equal Opportunity and Valuing Diversity documents and be made free of bias and unlawful discrimination using the principles of equity, merit-based appointment, privacy, and transparency.

The University will also undertake tailored recruitment processes to respond to University strategies or needs specific to a role.

Federation University under the Higher Education Act 2003 and Indigenous Student Assistance Guidelines, have an agreement with the Federal Government to increase overall Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment within the University to meet national parity. The University will also utilise relevant legislation to take appropriate affirmative action measures in recruitment, selection, retention and staff development in both mainstream and designated careers to achieve equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The University will contribute to the process of equality and reconciliation by committing to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Supporting documents

1.3 Induction

Federation University will ensure that all staff members are provided with a robust, welcoming and empowering induction and are provided with the information required to be successful in their roles. Employees are provided with key information about working at the University including policies, procedures, compliance requirements and legislation associated with their employment through an appropriate induction and onboarding program.

Our induction activities will reflect our strategic and operational objectives, our Living Values Charter, and enhance our commitment to being a first-choice employer and destination for students.

Induction will be relevant to the role undertaken and may differ between general, academic and TAFE staff.

Adjunct, Honorary or Visiting appointees who will be based at, or who will work from a Federation University campus, are required to complete the Corporate Induction, Local and OHS Inductions.

Apprentices, Trainees and Volunteers are required to complete the Local and OHS Inductions.

Supporting documents

2. Employment conditions and wellbeing initiatives

2.1 Employment conditions

Federation University provides a broad range of conditions and benefits to staff. The Federation University Australia Union Enterprise Agreement 2019-2021 and Federation University Australia TAFE Teaching Staff Agreement 2019 provide detail regarding staff pay, superannuation, leave entitlements and workplace conditions. In addition, the University complies with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements regarding employment conditions, health and safety.

Supporting documents

2.2 Staff requirements

Federation University staff are required to conduct work outlined within their position description and as directed by their supervisor.  

Federation University staff are expected to adhere to the Staff Code of Conduct (the Code) that provides a set of principles to guide staff is designed to assist staff to understand their responsibilities and obligations and provide guidance on expected behaviour in the workplace, or if faced with an ethical dilemma or conflict of interest in their work. The Code should be read in conjunction with legislative and regulatory documentation.

The Code will assist the university to safeguard public trust and confidence in the integrity and professionalism of its staff by ensuring that all staff:

  • maintain appropriate standards of conduct;
  • exhibit fairness, impartiality, honesty and equity in decision making; and
  • foster and protect the reputation of the university.

As part of the approach by the University to providing a fair, safe and productive work environment, consideration of grievances will be dealt with fairly, consistently, promptly and with sensitivity to all parties.

As a child safe organisation, the University is committed to providing an environment that ensures that children are able to experience the fundamental right to be safe from all forms of child abuse. University current and prospective staff and contractors are required to maintain child safe practices, including obtaining a Working with Children Card where required.

Supporting documents

2.3 Health, safety and engagement

Federation University is committed to providing and maintaining, as far as is reasonably practicable, a healthy and safe environment for its staff members and members of the University community.

If a staff member sustains a work related injury or illness, the University is committed to providing them with support and assistance pursuant to the provisions of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 and in accordance with the University’s Injury Management Procedures.

The University recognises that its employees have the right to take lawful industrial action in accordance with industrial relations legislation.  The University must also continue to operate and provide quality services to its students, customers and clients during periods of industrial action hence the University supports those employees who wish to continue to work on days when their colleagues are engaged in industrial action.  Employees will not be paid for any period that they participate in industrial action, and employer superannuation contributions will not apply.

Workplace bullying, violence or threats of violence are totally unacceptable at the University. All workers and other members of the University are expected to treat each other with respect. The University’s commitment to providing and maintaining a healthy and safe environment free from bullying, violence or threats of violence or restriction of academic freedoms and freedom of speech. Bullying leads to individual distress and organisational disruption. It can cause physical and psychological harm.

Reasonable management action, carried out in a fair way is not bullying.  Supervisors have a right to direct the way work is carried out and to monitor and give feedback on performance, giving due consideration to the manner in which this is done.

The University encourages the early reporting of any allegations of bullying, violence and/or threats of violence and is committed to implementing a prevention program. This includes dealing with complaints towards a reasonable and fair outcome.

Supporting documents

2.4 Work-life balance

The University is committed to policies and procedures which support flexibility in the workplace.

Federation University supports employees to achieve a work-life balance through a range of initiatives including:

  • Support of breastfeeding/feeding and/or expressing
  • Opportunities for children to be safely brought on Campus
  • Family and Domestic Violence support

Working from home arrangements

The University recognises that there are circumstances that allowing a staff member to regularly work from home may assist the staff member to balance their work, health issues and/or family or other responsibilities. Approval of a Working from Home Arrangement is required to ensure compliance with relevant health and safety legislation and to ensure the role can be efficiently and effectively completed from home. An application may be refused or limited.

Flexible leave arrangements

Leave arrangements for staff are detailed in University Enterprise Agreement and as required by legislation. The University has a range of leave arrangements to support staff including purchased, parental, domestic violence, cultural and bereavement leave and leave without pay arrangements. Staff, in conjunction with supervisors, will discuss options and ensure fair and transparent decisions are implemented as appropriate.

Children at work

Federation University diligently works to create an environment which supports staff and students with responsibilities for children, through enabling reasonable consideration of requests from staff and students who are parents/carers/guardians to bring their children to a university activity, and to give effect to the University’s legal and policy obligations with respect to staff and students with carers responsibilities. 

Child feeding

The University will take all reasonable steps to provide access to suitable facilities for feeding and/or expressing and/or storing breast milk or formula through taking steps to have at least one designated and properly maintained facility on each campus or through providing facilities, on an ad hoc basis, responding to the needs of breastfeeding students and staff.

Supporting documents

3. Performance and professional development

3.1 Performance review and development

Federation University is committed to the implementation of an effective process of performance review and development which links the performance and development of the individual employee to the strategic priorities, objectives and values of the University and relevant work area. An effective process of performance review and development is an important part of the University's annual strategic and operational planning processes, ensuring alignment between the performance and development of individual employees, the strategic priorities and objectives of the Directorate or Institute, and the University's Charter.

The Performance Review and Development Program(PRDP) applies to all full-time and part-time employees of the University employed on a fixed-term appointment for more than one year; or in a continuing appointment.

PRDP Supervisors are responsible for planning, monitoring and reviewing the performance and development of employees, and training will be available to assist Supervisors in implementing the PRDP. This annual process should provide staff with sufficient professional development opportunities and support in developing an evidence-based sustained portfolio towards meeting target goals and key performance indicators.

Supporting documents

3.2 Outside Studies Program

The University operates an Outside Studies Program for academic staff, allowing the opportunity to undertake research, creative and professional activity or the scholarship of teaching in areas of identified strategic importance to the University and to the professional development of the employee, which cannot normally be undertaken within the employee’s duties at the University.

Where appropriate, staff are supported to engage with the broader community, including through participation of consultancy opportunities.

Supporting documents

3.3 Academic promotion

Academic staff who have successfully completed their probationary period and who have completed at least one year's service at the date of call for applications are eligible to apply for promotion.

Applicants must have participated in the University's Performance Review and Development Program (or probationary period) during the 12 months prior to the closing date of applications and demonstrated at least satisfactory performance and professional development.

Academic staff who have applied unsuccessfully for promotion are ineligible to apply the year following an unsuccessful application.

Supporting documents

3.4 Professional reclassification

Professional staff have the opportunity to apply for reclassification as relevant to their role and organisational changes. Line managers should offer support for reclassification as part of regular the professional development discussions.

Supporting documents

Modification history

Original issue Current version Review Date Details
06 December, 2022 06 December, 2022 06 December, 2027 Consolidation of existing Policy Documents to a revised overarching Policy for Information Management that includes a living suite of support documents to better reflect currency and best practice of University Operations.

Policy governance responsibilities and communications

All documentation within the Governance Framework will be communicated throughout the University including, but not limited to, internal communications such as FedNews, VC Comms, staff emails, staff inductions and documentation distribution. Policy document owners are responsible for identifying and managing information-related risks and issues for their assigned information entities and for escalating these to Approval Authorities accordingly. Owners of policy documents are accountable for their respective procedures, manuals and work instructions in alignment with their position descriptions and Performance Review Development Plan (PRDP) cycles.