We have been made aware that some members of staff are being invited to attend meetings for an “informal chat” with their Head of School. Once at the meeting, the member is faced with the HoS and an HR rep who then initiate a discussion about taking an “enhanced” offer to leave the University. If this offer is not accepted within a short period, the member of staff may be told that they can expect to be made redundant and have to leave with considerably less by way of a financial settlement.
So, what should you do if you are invited to have a “protected conversation”?
You can ask to halt the meeting so that you can seek advice from your Trade Union rep; ask if you can re-arrange the meeting for a later date and bring a UCU rep with you to the re-scheduled meeting (as per paragraph 13 of the ACAS guidance on “best practice”). If you prefer to continue with the conversation to see what might be on offer, you can of course do so. Ask that any notes taken by the HR rep are shared with you.
And after the meeting?
The first thing you should do is come and seek help from us and we will support you – email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange to get casework support in place ASAP. Please note, this service is ONLY AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS.
Next, have a read of the ACAS guidance on protected conversations – this is a useful resource and covers everything you need to know. For a simple guide to protected conversations, have a look at this legal blog – written in clear English, it is also very useful.