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Act 46, 2012 (XLVI) – Act anent Absence from Duty of a Professor in the Free Church College. 24th May 2012.

The General Assembly enact the following regulations relating to the absence from duty of a Professor at the Free Church College. Absence from duty under this Act will fall into four categories as follows: (1) Leave due to illness; (2) Annual Leave; (3) Compassionate Leave; (4) Special Leave.

1. Absence because of Illness

1.1 Short-term Absence

1.1.1 All illness which prevents a Professor from taking a scheduled class shall be reported immediately to the College Principal (or, in the case of his illness, to his deputy in terms of Act IV, 1979, paragraph IV.2) as soon as practicable. The Professor, failing whom the Principal, shall ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for the conduct of classes and other College duties during such illness.

1.1.2 All illness in excess of seven consecutive days shall be reported to the College Principal (or, in the case of his illness, to his deputy in terms of Act IV, 1979, paragraph IV.2) and a medical certificate shall be provided. The Professor shall continue to provide such certificates, covering the whole period of absence, and a final certificate showing the date of return to work. The Principal shall record the dates of commencement and end of such absence, and shall inform the Chairman of the College Board and the Chief Administrative Officer of the Professor’s absence and return to work. The Senate is responsible for interim arrangements regarding College duties when a professor is ill for a prolonged period (Act IV, 1979, paragraph V.7).

1.1.3 If the absence of the Professor exceeds, or is expected to exceed, eight weeks, the College Board through its Chairman shall seek an Occupational Health Medical Report from an Occupational Health professional. The Occupational Health Report should address issues such as the Professor’s health and prognosis, any work related factors which may delay a return to work, and an assessment of the Professor’s capability to return to work. The Board has no need to see the report, but the Chairman of the Board shall consult with the Senate and intimate to the Board how the Professor’s absence is being managed and how a return to work, where possible, will be facilitated. Further update reports should be obtained bi-monthly until and including the sixth month of absence.

1.1.4 If the illness is expected to exceed 28 weeks, the Chief Administrative Officer shall be provided with the medical certificate (by the Professor as in paragraph 1.2) by the end of the 28th week with a view to the completion of the appropriate HMRC forms. The Chief Administrative Officer shall deduct from salary a sum equivalent to HMRC allowances to which the professor is entitled.

1.2 Long-term absence

1.2.1 If the illness exceeds six months the College Board shall obtain a further independent medical report and shall, by the end of the seventh month, consult the Senate to formulate appropriate arrangements in the continuing absence of the professor.1.2.2 In the event of a Professor returning to work after six months on a part-time basis, payment of salary will be made at the full rate for a period up to twelve months from the first date of absence. If at the end of the twelve months the Professor is unable to resume full-time duties the provisions of Section 2.4 onwards will apply.

1.2.3 If the illness exceeds nine months the College Board shall obtain a further occupational health medical report, the terms of which will be communicated to the Chief Administrative Officer by the end of the eleventh month.

1.2.4 If, in the light of this report, the illness is expected to exceed twelve months, the College Board shall resolve either (a) to report to the ensuing General Assembly that the Professor be loosed from his chair on a date to be determined by the Assembly with due regard to all the circumstances, and inform the Professor of this decision; or (b) to declare that in the light of exceptional circumstances as contained in the report of paragraph 2.3 or in such further medical report as the Board think it desirable to obtain, it is inappropriate to loose the Professor from the chair. The Board shall record in its minutes the factors which constitute the exceptional circumstances.

1.2.5 If the Professor is loosed from the chair, his name will be placed on the Roll of Resigned and Retired Ministers and the Professor shall be eligible to receive his full salary for a period of six months or until taking up another appointment if earlier.

1.2.6 If, in the case of exceptional circumstances, the Professor is still unable to resume his duties after three months, the Board shall report to the ensuing General Assembly or its Commission that the professor be loosed from his chair on a date that is determined by the Assembly or its Commission with due regard to all the circumstances, and inform the Professor of this decision. As in paragraph 2.5 preceding, the professor’s name will be placed on the Roll of Resigned and Retired Ministers, and the professor shall be eligible to receive his full salary but only for a period of a further three months or until taking up another appointment if earlier.

1.2.7 In the event of a professor being absent through illness intermittently for more than three months in total over a period of two years, the Senate shall prepare a report for the College Board with a view to deciding on a plan of action appropriate to the case.

1.2.8 In the case of exceptional circumstances and in the event of a Professor returning to work after twelve months of absence on a part-time basis, payment of salary will be made at the full rate for a period of three months. The College Board shall inform the Chief Administrative Officer of the implementation of this procedure. If at the end of this period the Professor is unable to resume full duties he shall be loosed from his chair, and the Professor shall be paid his full salary for a further three months or until taking up another appointment if earlier.

1.3 General provisions

1.3.1 All discussions on personnel matters should be held in camera, and any papers distributed should be returned to the Clerk by the close of the meeting. The Clerk should proceed to shred all documentation, other than papers retained for the purposes of the minutes. All discussions on personnel matters should be treated as strictly confidential.

1.3.2 The costs of the independent medical examinations will be met by the College Board for which due budgetary provision will be made annually.

1.3.3 Pension rights, in terms of paragraphs 2.1 and 2.3 of Act XXXVI, 2005, (at full stipend) shall be conserved as long as salary continues to be paid.

1.3.4 A professor who is absent from College as a result of illness may not attend a court or committee of the Church, nor may he undertake duties elsewhere.

1.3.5 Any professor who was an active member of the Free Church of Scotland Pension Scheme maintains his entitlement to Ill Health Retirement Pension under the Rules of the Free Church of Scotland Pension Scheme which closed on 31st December 2007.

1.3.6 A professor may be eligible for a grant from the Invalid Ministers’ etc. Fund, to reimburse costs incurred as a result of illness.

1.3.7 It shall be the responsibility of the Personnel Committee to keep these provisions under review, in consultation with the College Board.

1.3.8 Act IV, 1994, Section 3 is hereby repealed.

2. Annual Leave

2.1. Professors are entitled to 42 days annual leave in any one calendar year.

2.2 Annual leave may not be taken during teaching term time. Also a professor shall arrange his annual leave in such a way that it does not impede his examination and other College commitments.

2.3 No holiday period shall exceed 28 successive days without the professor informing the Senate of his proposed arrangements and obtaining their consent.

2.4 All holiday entitlement shall be taken up before 31st December, or extended to 28th February of the following year with the agreement of the Senate.

3. Compassionate leave

Compassionate leave on grounds of bereavement, family illness or special circumstances may be granted to the Professor by the Senate. The Principal is authorised to make such interim arrangements as may be required.

3.1 Bereavement

In the event of a death in the Professor’s family, or of a near relative, or of a dependant, the Professor shall be entitled to receive bereavement leave with pay for up to five working days.

3.2 Family Illness

In the event of serious family illness where the Professor’s ability to focus wholly on his duties is impaired, he shall be entitled to compassionate leave. The period of compassionate leave shall be determined by the Senate in consultation with the Professor and giving due regard to the personal circumstances prevailing at the time.

3.3 Special Circumstances

Where special circumstances apply, it will be open to the Senate in consultation with the Chairman of the College Board to extend the period of compassionate leave.

4. Special Leave

4. 1 A Professor’s primary responsibility is to the College and this should be recognised by all who seek his services for other work in the Church. Every effort should, therefore, be made so that disturbance to the work of the College is kept to a minimum.

4. 2 Interchange has always played an important and useful role in the academic world and, while it is to be encouraged, primary consideration must be given to the work of the College.

4.3 A Professor may not, without the permission of the Senate and the concurrence of the College Board, undertake any engagements during teaching term time which would preclude him from his professorial responsibilities in the College.

4.4 A Professor may be granted leave of absence, outwith teaching term time, by the Senate, at the specific request of a department of the Church. The full cost of the professor’s absence shall be borne by the department concerned.

4. 5 A Professor may be granted leave of absence, at any time, by the Senate, to undertake academic work at the specific request of another College. The total cost of such leave would require to be borne by those making the request, unless there were reciprocal arrangements agreeable to the Senate.

Pension rights shall be conserved as long as paid leave extends.

Act IV, 1994, Section 4 is hereby repealed.