The pandemic has been a very challenging time, but throughout this period of upheaval, we have continued to drive progress.

While some negotiations take place at a national level, other important decisions have been made in York.

Right now, the University has much to be proud of.
In many cases, our actions have reflected a commitment beyond that of other universities. It has provided an impetus to champion further change and in some areas, York has led the way in the sector.

We know there is still more to do and we continue to work constructively and collaboratively to identify the best possible outcomes for our staff.

Read on to learn about the progress we've made ↴

Pay and pensions

Our commitment Where we’ve come from Our progress
Ensuring all colleagues receive the real Living Wage. The Living Wage campaign encourages a voluntary higher UK wage rate. Paying the national minimum wage (UK minimum for under-23s) and the national living wage (UK minimum for over-23s) for some roles We are proud to have become a real Living Wage employer - a very important step in recognising our responsibilities as a University for public good.
Improving the People's Pension, the scheme for any staff not eligible for any of the University's other pensions. Members used to put in 5% of their salary and the University contributed 3% The University now pays 6% and members put in 3% as standard. This means that staff save more for their pension and take more of their pay home, too. Staff also have the option of increasing their contributions back to the 5% that they used to pay, and if they do this, the University increases its contribution to 10%. So far over 350 individuals have elected to pay contributions at this higher rate and we continue to publicise this option.

Casualisation

Our commitment Where we’ve come from Our progress
There should be clarity for workers about their working arrangements. Anticipated working hours and pay arrangements were not transparent or consistently applied across the University. We provide all casual workers with a clear statement about how work is allocated and rates of pay.
Staff should be on the most appropriate employment contract type, with a commitment to use more open contracts where possible. We used to review fixed term contracts after four years, in line with UK law. We now review opportunities for open contracts after two years. There still needs to be an ongoing requirement for the work, but this has given many staff greater stability and security.
We should improve terms and conditions for our Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs).

GTAs are postgraduate research students, normally studying for a PhD, who support other students' learning at the University.
All GTA engagements were on a casual basis, even when there was regular work.

The terms and conditions meant GTAs didn't have the same leave and sick pay arrangements as UoY employees.
We now have more than 150 GTAs on fixed term contracts. We think this is well above comparable institutions and has been really welcomed by our students.

We have a good mixture of casual and fixed term contracts, and all GTAs have enhanced sick pay and annual leave. They also have access to parental leave and other benefits.
We need to build more open recruitment processes.

Above all, there should be a transparent recruitment culture, with opportunities open to all.
People could be directly employed for up to 12 months without going through a formal recruitment process.

This could lead to 'quick fixes' which did not encourage open or fair appointment processes.
Direct appointments can now only last for up to six months, encouraging departments to plan longer-term appointments that are advertised openly.

In turn this means investing and developing the people we appoint, rather than just 'plugging gaps', sometimes unfairly.

Gender and pay-related gaps

Our commitment Where we’ve come from Our progress
We are committed to fair and transparent reward, promotion and recruitment policies and practices, where we actively address imbalance.

The 2021 Pay Gap report has now been published. In addition to our obligation to report on our gender pay gap, we have also chosen to voluntarily report on our ethnicity pay gap and actions we're taking to address both gaps.
We needed to improve the information we held, so we can better understand the make-up of our workforce, and the implications for pay, pay gaps and progression.

There was no joint working with our campus trade unions in this area.
We now have a gender pay action plan and a joint working group with trade unions, committed to reducing the University's gender pay gap.

There are encouraging signs that the gender pay gap is reducing, with the proportion of women in the upper and upper middle salary quartiles steadily increasing each year and the number of female academics making a successful promotion application has increased by 100% in the last five years.

We are mirroring these efforts to reduce our ethnicity pay gap, and to report this information ahead of any statutory requirements.

Workload and wellbeing

Our commitment Where we’ve come from Our progress
We recognise that workload and wellbeing are inextricably linked.

Poor wellbeing can impact your ability to work effectively, and work-related pressures can negatively affect your wellbeing.

We want to work together with our staff to shape best practice and develop policies which support our whole community.
We are building on our 2019 Health and wellbeing plan.

There was no joint working with our campus trade unions on this key issue.
We work in partnership with campus trade unions to jointly address workload and wellbeing issues.

We have positive feedback about our approach to supporting staff during the pandemic. Examples include:
—our message at the start of the pandemic to 'do what you can, when you can', to help balance the pressures of work and home life
—two additional days of paid leave in 2020, as well as extending the 'carry over' of unused holiday
—our remote working policy, which we believe is more flexible than many others in the sector. This gives staff more choice, where possible, about how and where they work.
We want to listen to staff feedback on reviews of teaching, and to streamline our standard monitoring and evaluation processes in order to minimise staff workload. Both Annual Programme Review and Periodic Review were postponed last academic year, and Periodic Reviews remain suspended. Any monitoring and evaluation of taught provision for regulatory compliance will be much lighter-touch than usual. At this point, nothing is expected of departments.

This year, departments aren't required to comment on their NSS results. Instead:
—Faculty Learning and Teaching Groups will consider NSS results to share good practice and identify areas of concern
—University Teaching Committee will develop an institutional action plan

Going forward, we will consider taught and research degrees independently. Details of the APR process for research degrees will be circulated in due course to Graduate Chairs and Administrators.