The University of Sheffield unveiled its Staff Release Scheme. This is a measure brought in by the university’s Strategy Delivery Group as a response to the university’s financial forecasts.

We are concerned that members may be under the impression that

  • the university’s actions are a direct result of the EU-referendum (they are not: these concerns predate the vote);
  • rising staff costs are the main problem (they are not: staff costs have fallen as a proportion of income);
  • the university is strapped for cash (it’s not: it’s choosing to prioritize eye-watering levels of capital spending);
  • the university can’t afford fair pay increases (it can: it’s factored into its forecasts an undisclosed, probably sizeable, figure);
  • the unions negotiated the Staff Release Scheme (we didn’t: it was presented to us with no consultation);
  • the Strategy Delivery Group is doing its best to be transparent (it’s not: it reports only to the VC with no publicly available minutes or union representation).

The Staff Release Scheme

A voluntary severance scheme will see accepted staff leaving with a month’s pay for each year they’ve worked, subject to a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 9. The scheme is open to all staff and is an individual decision. Staff must not feel pressured or coerced by managers or colleagues into applying for release, especially if it is felt that pressure or coercion is on the grounds of age, disability or any other protected characteristic as this is discrimination and, depending on individual cases, illegal. Likewise, while there is no appeal, the University does have obligations to make decisions fairly and we’ll be on the lookout for any bad decision-making. Please get in touch with any information or concerns.