Vice-Chancellor’s retirement arrangements

Since the announcement on 28 November 2017 of the Vice-Chancellor’s retirement, some members of the University community have raised questions to which this note seeks to respond. The same information was provided to members of Academic Assembly who attended the Extraordinary meeting held earlier today and I thought it would be helpful to share the briefing note provided with all members of staff.

In relation to the Vice-Chancellor’s retirement arrangements, the University followed external legal advice that these should be treated as falling within the scope of HEFCE guidance on severance pay for senior staff. In line with that guidance, the governing body (Council) approved the severance arrangements on recommendation from the Remuneration Committee.

Like all members of staff, the Vice-Chancellor has the protection of employment law, including rights under her contract and statutory employment rights. The retirement arrangements approved by Council reflect these contractual and statutory rights.

Under the arrangements, the Vice-Chancellor will leave her employment with the University on 28 February 2019. Her contract of employment requires both the Vice-Chancellor and the University to give a minimum of 12 months’ notice to terminate her contract.

In addition, the University could not lawfully terminate the Vice-Chancellor’s employment simply by giving 12 months’ notice – under unfair dismissal legislation, the University would need to have a fair reason for any dismissal (eg. conduct, capability, redundancy) and also follow due process before giving the contractually required 12 months’ notice. Without both a fair reason and due process, the University would risk claims and liabilities for unfair dismissal and, potentially, breach of other employment rights. There are no grounds for termination without notice.

The Vice-Chancellor will take a sabbatical from 1 September 2018 to 28 February 2019. In 2013, the Remuneration Committee approved a sabbatical on full pay for the Vice-Chancellor, an agreement which remained open for future years. Over several annual reviews, the Vice-Chancellor has decided to defer taking this sabbatical and had discussed with the Chair of Council taking it towards the end of her time with the University to minimise its impact. The sabbatical approved by Council under the retirement arrangements is for a shorter period than the Vice-Chancellor would have expected on the basis of the Committee’s earlier decision.

On her appointment in 2001, the Vice-Chancellor was advised in writing by the then Chair of Council that the car loan provided would be written off at the end of her employment. This letter has contractual force and is honoured in the retirement arrangements.

No additional payments will be due to the Vice-Chancellor on termination of her employment[1]. Further, as the Vice-Chancellor will have served her full period of notice, payment in lieu of notice does not apply.

Richard Brooks

Director of HR

University of Bath


[1] For example ‘compensation for loss of office’, sometimes known as a ‘golden handshake’.

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