Professional Development Leave: Professional Employees Procedure

Procedure overview

1 Purpose

To provide an opportunity to encourage the enhancement and development of professional Employees' professional knowledge, skills and abilities through activities undertaken outside the University.

2 Scope

This Procedure applies to all eligible continuing and fixed-term professional Employees.

3 Procedure Overview

This Procedure outlines the process for granting Professional Development Leave (PDL) to professional Employees in order to stimulate and increase Employee effectiveness through professional development activities undertaken outside the University.

4 Procedures

4.1 Eligibility

All continuing and fixed-term professional Employees will be eligible to apply for an initial period of PDL which can be taken after a minimum qualifying period of three years continuous* employment (excluding casual appointments). A minimum period of three years will normally intervene between periods of PDL.

*During a period of employment, continuity of service is not broken through absence from work (including illness or injury) on paid or unpaid leave approved by the University. Where fixed-term Employees have a break between contracts, continuity of service is not broken when the break does not exceed 90 days.

Accrual eligibility will be deemed to begin from the date of commencement of continuous service to the University (excluding casual appointments), or from the end of the last period of the Employee's PDL of three months or more, whichever date is the more recent.

PDL eligibility accrues at the rate of one month for each six months of service. An eligible Employee who has served for a minimum of three years may be granted up to a maximum of six months PDL.

Credit towards future PDL will not accrue during period of PDL or leave without pay with the exception of periods of approved unpaid parental leave.

The University will recognise continuous full-time and fractional service with other Australian Universities up to a total of one year for PDL purposes provided that:

  • not more than 90 days has lapsed between cessation of employment with the prior institution and this University; and
  • the period between cessation with the prior institution and this University will not be taken into account in determining the service period.

PDL will not normally be granted during the first two years following appointment to the University*.

* An application by the Employee for recognition of prior service must be supported with a statement from the previous employer detailing the period of prior service, the position/s held and the PDL leave credit balance available to the Employee at the time of termination.

4.2 Duration

The maximum period of PDL will be six months and the minimum period three months.

4.3 Location

PDL will normally be taken outside of the University. The appropriate location is that which will provide most benefit to both the Employee and the University. Justification for the location for PDL should be provided. In the case of an overseas location, the application should indicate why the advantages to be gained by the Employee and University cannot be gained at an Australian location.

4.4 Salary and outside earnings

Employees participating in an approved PDL program will normally continue to be paid at their current FTE, classification level and step. However, in instances where an Employee has had fractional service during the qualifying period, the Employee will be paid during the period of leave at the same average fractional rate as served during the qualifying period.

Alternatively, the Delegate may also elect to approve PDL on half-pay or leave without pay depending on the benefits the University will derive from the programme and the resources available.

Employees intending to undertake outside employment whilst on PDL must complete an Application for Approval to Undertake Outside Employment form and receive the prior approval of the Delegate. Where these additional earnings are substantial, such approval may include provisions for revenue-sharing between the Employee and the cost centre or University. In other cases, there may be a requirement that financial allowances for PDL will be met from the proceeds. If at any time following the commencement of the approved period of PDL, an Employee elects to undertake outside work, the University must be advised and the approval of the Category 3 Delegate obtained.

A fractional Employee may apply to proportionally decrease the amount of leave time and simultaneously increase the fraction at which they are paid during the PDL period provided that the total salary does not exceed the budgeted amount. For example, a 0.5 fractional Employee may apply to undertake a PDL program at a full-time rate of pay for 3 months instead of a 0.5 fractional rate for 6 months with the approval of the Delegate.

4.5 Financial assistance

The University will provide a contribution towards an Employee's PDL program, but such financial assistance is not expected nor intended to cover all the costs incurred.

Financial assistance will be provided to a maximum of $4000 per Employee. Additionally, for an Employee travelling away from their home with a dependent partner and/or children*, a further amount of PDL financial assistance of $100 per week for an accompanying dependent partner and $50 per week for each accompanying dependent child (for the actual period of absence from home up to a maximum of 16 weeks) is available, capped at a maximum of $2400 per PDL program.

*A dependent partner/child will be determined in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office definition.

All payments made are subject to taxation will be reported on the Employee's annual payment summary as a component of gross salary. This financial assistance will be paid as a taxable allowance through the University's payroll system no sooner than two months and no later than one month prior to the commencement date of the period of PDL, with an option for the Employee to receive the allowance either as a lump sum or spread across a number of pay periods at their discretion. This allowance may be used towards the costs of transport, accommodation, meals and other expenses incurred as part of the PDL.

Employees applying for PDL will be required to submit a budget estimating the expected Expenditure to be incurred during the period of PDL along with justification for the scale of Expenditure. All travel arrangements and quotations are to be made directly by the Employee. Prior to any travel arrangements being booked, all quotations obtained by Employees must be confirmed by the Corporate Travel Office as being reasonable for the travel requested. Conference attendance applications must be supported by a copy of the official conference registration form detailing the cost of the registration.

Employees applying for PDL should seek their own professional financial advice in relation to their personal taxation circumstances early in the application process. Employees are responsible for retaining the appropriate documentation to enable them to comply with their personal taxation affairs.

If an Employee and partner are both employed by the University and both are granted PDL simultaneously, they will be treated as separate Employees for financial assistance.

4.6 Insurance

Travel for PDL purposes is not covered under the University's Insurance as defined in the Travel Policy. It is recommended that Employees take out their own travel Insurance prior to departure.

4.7 WorkCover

WorkCover Insurance may apply if an Employee is injured on PDL. All circumstances of the injury would be considered by WorkCover upon receipt of a claim.

4.8 Leave accruals

PDL generates its own annual leave at the same rate as other service. However, the annual leave accrued during the PDL program will be taken by the Employee during the period of the PDL, except where it would cause substantial hardship and where prior approval to defer the leave has been approved by a Delegate.

Other types of leave may be taken immediately before or following PDL. However, this leave is additional to that indicated above and will be deducted from leave entitlements. This additional leave must receive prior approval by a Delegate.

4.9 How to apply

Applications are required one year in advance of the anticipated period of PDL.

Applications for PDL will be made on the appropriate form Application to Undertake Professional Development Leave. The applicant is responsible for providing all Information requested on the application form in accordance with this Procedure along with any additional Information requested.

Applications must be discussed with the Employee's Supervisor in the first instance. The Employee and Supervisor will consider the details of the proposed program including:

  • the nature and purpose of the program, e.g. specific activities, dates, locations, outcomes/benefits expected from PDL;
  • how the program meets the needs of the individual work area and the strategic or operational plans within the individual work area;
  • what arrangements may be needed to cover the Employee's commitments during the period of PDL including budgetary and workforce planning considerations;
  • the merit of the application with respect to the individual work area's current and future needs;
  • the merit of the application with respect the University's current and future needs;
  • the Employee's capacity to make effective use of such an opportunity;
  • the Employee's ability to benefit from the program and to provide Information to others within the University; and
  • financial and budget details (e.g. remuneration details, including income expected, travel costs, assistance required).

Consideration of proposals which involve a period of time overseas shall be based on the normal criteria together with the evidence that appropriate and satisfactory opportunities are not available in Australia.

The Supervisor will make a recommendation to the Category 4 Delegate and offer an opinion as to the relevance of the program, the benefits to both the Employee and the individual work area and any staffing and budgetary considerations necessary to cover the applicant's work commitments.

The Category 4 Delegate will then consider the application and the recommendations of the Supervisor. If the Category 4 Delegate is satisfied that the work of the area can be carried out in a satisfactory manner in the Employee's absence, the application will be forwarded onto the Category 3 Delegate for approval. The Category 4 Delegate must advise the Employee of their support or otherwise of the application.

Should the Supervisor be applying for Professional Development Leave, the Category 4 Delegate will provide the recommendation.

Where the Category 3 Delegate is satisfied that the work of the area can be carried out in a satisfactory manner in the Employee's absence, the application will be approved and forwarded to Human Resources for processing. Where the Category 3 Delegate is not satisfied that the work of the area can be carried out in a satisfactory manner in the Employee's absence, the application will be declined or deferred.

Human Resources will register the application, check that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements, check the financial limit and advise the applicant and Delegate.

4.10 Service on return

Approvals granted will be subject to a commitment by the Employee not to retire, resign (other than on the grounds of ill health) or undertake a continuous period of extended leave in excess of four weeks (with the exception of medically certified personal leave) within a period equal to twice the duration of the approved leave to a maximum of twelve months, following the period of PDL. Employees on fixed-term appointments must be able to fulfil this requirement prior to the end of their current appointment, or within an approved subsequent fixed-term appointment.

In instances where resignation or retirement occurs within the specified periods outlined above the Employee may be required to repay to the University on a pro-rata basis the PDL financial assistance and up to half any salary paid during the period of PDL. The amount repaid will be in proportion to the time served upon return from the period of Professional Development Leave.

4.11 Report on PDL

An Employee must provide a formal report to the Category 3 Delegate via the Category 4 Delegate at the conclusion of the program. The report must indicate the following:

  • proposal and rationale (including the original learning objectives approved for the program)
  • benefit to the University (including how learning objectives were achieved and evaluated, and the subsequent benefits to the University)
  • cost to the University (including salary, on-costs, replacement Employees, allowances)
  • acquittal of time (what was done)
  • what was achieved and tangible results for the University (indicate how the knowledge obtained on the program was disseminated to interested bodies and Employees e.g. seminars, workshops or written papers).

Employees who fail to submit an acceptable report within three months of return will be ineligible for any future PDL until a report is received. An Employee who fails to submit an acceptable report within six months may at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor on the recommendation of the Category 3 Delegate be required to refund the amount of financial assistance received. Acceptability of the report is determined by assessing the extent to which the report indicates that the program conformed with the stated objectives.

4.12 Departure from regulations

Any departure from the above regulations may only be made with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

5 Delegated Responsibilities

Approver

Level of Delegation

Category 3 Delegate or above

Approval of PDL

Category 4 Delegate or above

Recommendation of PDL

6 References

Nil.

7 Schedules

This procedure must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

8 Procedure Information

Subordinate Schedules

Accountable Officer

Executive Director (Human Resources)

Responsible Officer

Executive Director (Human Resources)

Policy Type

University Procedure

Approved Date

12/12/2018

Effective Date

3/4/2019

Review Date

3/4/2022

Relevant Legislation

Related Policies

Performance, Development and Recognition Policy

Travel Policy

Related Procedures

Leave of Absence Procedure

Outside Employment Undertaken by USQ Employees Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Application for Approval to Undertake Outside Employment

Application to Undertake Professional Development Leave

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Delegate (noun)

Delegate (noun) means the officer, Employee or committee of the University to whom, or to which, a delegation of authority has been made under this Policy....moreDelegate (noun) means the officer, Employee or committee of the University to whom, or to which, a delegation of authority has been made under this Policy.

Employee

A person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University....moreA person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University.

Information

Any collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form....moreAny collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form.

Policy

A high level strategic directive that establishes a principle based approach on a subject. Policy is operationalised through Procedures that give instructions and set out processes to implement a Policy....moreA high level strategic directive that establishes a principle based approach on a subject. Policy is operationalised through Procedures that give instructions and set out processes to implement a Policy.

Procedure

An operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy....moreAn operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

Definitions that relate to this procedure only

Supervisor

Any person responsible for leading the activities of others. In the context of this Procedure, a Supervisor includes Employees at any classification level or title who have responsibilities for leading, managing or supervising work teams and/or individual Employees.

Keywords

PDL, development, leave

Record No

13/411PL

Complying with the law and observing Policy and Procedure is a condition of working and/or studying at the University.

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