Financial Hardship Policy

Document Number000823
Date Approved11 May 2007

1.      Introduction

The University is committed to the development of an organisational culture in which its people are valued and supported (Building Distinction 2007 - 2011).  This policy supports that commitment and the willingness of the University as an ‘employer of choice’ to assist staff during difficult periods in their lives. 

2.      Policy Intent

This policy outlines the principles for the provision of financial support (when appropriate) to staff suffering financial hardship.

3.      Relevant Definitions

In the context of this policy:

financial hardship means an inability to meet basic living needs due to an unexpected change in personal circumstances.

4.      Policy Provisions

4.1.     The University is sensitive to the impact on staff of severe financial hardship and may, in circumstances of special need, offer the staff member financial assistance.

4.2.     A staff member may seek financial sssistance by approaching one of the Deputy vice-Chancellors.

4.3.     Circumstances that may warrant financial assistance include:

i.  a suddent, unexpected change in personal circumstances;

ii. a lengthy absence from work due to personal reasons or illness, when all paid leave credits have been used; and/or

iii.  any other circumstances deemed relevant by the respective Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

4.4.     The University will consider requests for financial assistance from staff members and may offer a range of options for relief, including:

i.    a subsidy in the form of childcare1;

ii.   an advance on salary;

iii.  a short term, interest free loan;

iv.  an ex gratia payment2;

v.   the option of accessing accrued Long Service Leave payment (in full or part) where this provision has been included in the staff member's Australian Workplace Agreement3; or

vi.  other forms of emergency assistance deemed appropriate by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Director, HRS.

4.5.     Granting financial assistance will be the responsibility of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors.

4.6.     Any staff member requiring financial assistance must satisfy the respective Deputy Vice-Chancellor of their circumstances, and, if necessary, provide evidence to substantiate their request.

4.7.     The Deputy Vice-Chancellors may consult with each other and/or obtain advice as needed to determine the outcome of any request.  Any one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors will have the authority to approve financial assistance in accordance with the provisions of this policy.

4.8.     All financial assistance arrangements must comply with relevant legislation and must be fully documented.

4.9.     Any request for financial assistance will be treated as strictly confidential.

4.10.   The University is in no way committed to providing financial assistance to staff; any such assistance is at the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Notes

  1. Where a subsidy in the form of childcare is provided, the University will be liable for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) on the subsidy.

  2. Where an ex gratia payment is made, the amount is regarded as assessable income and recorded as such; the University would therefore withhold the appropriate amount of Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax.

  3. The option of cashing out long service leave entitlements is not lawful unless it has been specifically provided for in an Australian Workplace Agreement.

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved11 May 2007
Date for Review11 May 2010
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
Policy OwnerDirector, Human Resource Services
Policy ContactDirector, Human Resource Services