Extended Workforce Project
Queen’s is committed to engaging all individuals appropriately for the work they do in line with the institution’s Core Values, ICARE
What is the Extended Workforce Project?
In June 2019 the University commissioned a project to determine how best to engage and manage its extended workforce, with a view to ensuring that changes made reflect evolving best practice and are aligned to the Government’s Good Work Plan recommendations, and legislation.
The University’s extended workforce is composed of workers, self-employed individuals, volunteers and other payees across a range of both teaching and non-teaching roles, who are engaged to:
- Deliver non-permanent or intermittent services, as and when required;
- Prevent the disruption of service delivery by covering short term staff absences, or
- Provide additional support, skills and experience to meet fluctuating demands.
The project itself involves three workstreams:
- Development and implementation of an Extended Workforce Policy and procedures;
- Procurement and implementation of a new online system to facilitate the recruitment, engagement and management of the extended workforce;
- Dependent Projects: A series of smaller projects that will help ensure the overall success of the broader project.
Benefits delivered by the project
Benefits for the University Benefits for Managers Benefits for Individuals Ensuring that fair and appropriate contractual arrangements are in place Reduction in time spent on manual processes Access to a wider range of work opportunities Transparent processes enabling accountability and good governance Access to a wider pool of candidates Fair and equitable contractual arrangements that are truly reflective of the work undertaken Availability of analytics to inform budgetary and operational planning Meaningful management information to inform budgetary decision making Consistent and appropriate pay rates for work undertaken
- What are the objectives of the project?
The University is committed to engaging all individuals appropriately for the work they do in line with the institution’s Core Values, ICARE:
- Integrity - We ensure that the engagement of staff is undertaken with honesty and transparency, and is reflective of the highest ethical standards;
- Connected - By collaborating with the diverse talent within our extended workforce, the University is better placed to succeed in achieving its objectives;
- Ambition - We are forward thinking and strive to build on the important contribution our extended workforce makes to the success of the University;
- Respect - We ensure that our extended workforce is engaged fairly, and the relationship is mutually beneficial;
- Excellence - We recognise that the members of our extended workforce are vital and contribute to the University’s pursuit of excellence.
The objectives of the Extended Workforce Project are to:
- Ensure that all individuals are engaged on the most appropriate contract that best reflects the nature of the engagement and best practice;
- Mitigate the risk of failure to comply with legal requirements such as UKVI regulations (including Tier 4 restrictions), GDPR and the Working Time Directive;
- Reduce administration time and effort to recruit and engage individuals, commission work and pay our extended workforce;
- Ensure consistent and appropriate rates of pay;
- Use technology and modern communication techniques to deliver an increased pool of suitable candidates available to work at short notice, to meet fluctuating, short term demands, and advertise opportunities widely;
- Provide budget holders with analytics to enable them to effectively plan, manage and review their use of the extended workforce, and the associated budgets;
- Create clear roles and responsibilities for the recruitment and engagement of our extended workforce which will be reflected in the system;
- Collect more data on the extended workforce to improve statutory returns (e.g. HESA) and provide a comprehensive view of our extended workforce to inform decision making.
- What are we doing to meet the project’s objectives?
Workstream 1 - Development and implementation of an Extended Workforce Policy and procedures
- Undertaken scoping exercises, including conducting audits, across the University to better understand the systems, processes and contractual arrangements currently in place.
- Developed an Extended Workforce Policy, reflective of best practice, to provide managers with clear guidance on the use of extended workforce in the University.
- Developing a resource toolkit to support managers and ensure they are equipped to make informed decisions on the most appropriate employment status and contractual terms when engaging individuals.
- Providing training and support to those responsible for engaging individuals to ensure that the practices of recruitment, engagement and payment of individuals is in line with University policies and procedures.
- Ensuring that everyone in the extended workforce is correctly engaged on the most appropriate contractual terms, on either a worker or self-employed basis. The University has identified a small number of cases where individuals will be transitioned out of the extended workforce on to employment contracts in circumstances where the day to day nature of the engagement warrants it.
Workstream 2 - Procurement and implementation of a new online system to facilitate the recruitment, engagement and management of the extended workforce
- Implementing an online system, for use by managers and the extended workforce, to provide simpler and more efficient recruitment and engagement processes that meets the needs of the University today and in the future.
- Reviewing our processes for managing Right to Work (RTW) and monitoring of hours worked by Tier 4 students.
- Ensuring effective accountability and governance structures by developing stronger oversight of the use of extended workforce, creating transparency through the development of management information to help stakeholders manage their usage of the extended workforce and ensuring responsibility for decision making.
Workstream 3 - Undertake a range of dependent projects which are essential to realising the full benefits of the extended workforce project
A number of dependent projects have been identified which will contribute to the overall success of the project including:
- hourly rates for workers
- student working guidance
- worker access to resources (training, online payslips)
Outcomes of these projects will be published in due course.
- Stakeholder Engagement
We have engaged with a range of key stakeholders since the inception of the project and will continue to do so to ensure that their interests are reflected, concerns and risk are mitigated, and contributions are noted. We have developed a Communications and Engagement Strategy and Plan which sets out our approach to stakeholder engagement including a variety of union meetings, stakeholder briefings, upskilling sessions and management and staff communications.
The Project is being led by the People and Culture Directorate and is governed by the Extended Workforce Project Board.
The Project Board comprises representation from a cross-section of University areas which have active involvement in the current engagement of extended workforce, and includes representatives from each of the three Faculties (AHSS, EPS and MHLS) together with Information Services, Directorate of Academic and Student Affairs, Student Plus, Finance, and People and Culture.
Further information is available on membership of the Extended Workforce Project Board.
- Project Update One – September 2020
In June 2020 the University Operating Board approved a new Extended Workforce Policy which sets out the institution’s position in relation to the future engagement of workers, self-employed individuals, volunteers and other payees by managers.
Now the policy is approved, we will be working throughout the academic year 2020-21 to support colleagues in Schools and Directorates to implement any changes required in their areas to achieve alignment with the policy. This will ensure that all new engagements are in accordance with the policy by the start of the academic year 2021-22.
We have developed a management toolkit to provide information and resources to support the effective engagement of individuals. Resources include an employment status flowchart, a live employment status framework for common job roles, a template worker contract, FAQ’s and a recorded training session for managers on application of the correct employment status.
Support is also available to Hiring Managers and their teams through the HR Business Partnering team.
We are currently customising an online business system to reflect the new processes for engaging the extended workforce. Further information will be provided in the next update later this month.
- Project Update Two – November 2020
The University engages workers through “Non-Staff Payments” Payroll (NSP), Students’ Union and On Campus Jobs in a variety of teaching and non-teaching roles. We are changing the way we recruit and engage these workers with a new operating model which will allow Schools and Directorates to continue to engage workers locally whilst moving all of the administration onto a new business system which will be managed centrally.
We are working with Talent Bank on the implementation of the new business system, QWORK to support the new operating model. The new system includes a central database of workers, who have had Right to Work (RTW) checks completed and any visa restrictions identified. QWORK will limit the number of hours commissioned to any individuals who have restricted working hours, particularly Tier 4 international students, and will also manage timesheet submission, and approval.
Hiring Managers can easily search the system to identify individuals with the required skills and expertise, complete their own recruitment processes and engage individuals in the knowledge that they are contracted correctly. The system will be available 24/7 from anywhere and on any device, allowing Hiring Managers to react to emerging needs quickly and flexibly.
These changes will deliver a number of benefits, including:.
- Mitigating the risk of failure to comply with legal requirements including UKVI regulations and best practice employment practices;
- Reducing administration time and effort to recruit, engage, and commission work;
- Creating a mechanism to increase the available pool of candidates of workers available to work at short notice and commissioning hours in advance;
- Providing better reporting processes with greater accessibility to relevant information and visibility of assignments; and
- Ensuring greater accountability and governance in the recruitment and engagement of workers.
The new system will be piloted in early 2021 and will be implemented in phases on a role by role basis throughout the academic year. The Project Implementation Team will identify and contact Hiring Managers and workers ahead of implementation to provide them with information and support on changes to the new processes. Hiring Managers will be supported throughout implementation via training, drop in clinics and videos available through Talent Bank.
As part of this process we have adopted some new terminology, for example ‘QWORK’, ‘Hiring Manager’, ‘Approver’ and ‘Commissioned Hours’. For ease of reference, we have created a Glossary of Terms.
- Project Update Three – March 2021
We are currently piloting our QWORK system, a centralised, online system for the recruitment, engagement and payment of casual workers. Once QWORK has launched, all casual job opportunities at Queen’s will be listed on the system, allowing workers to upload timesheets, view payslips and apply for new jobs through their personalised account.
Over the coming months, QWORK will be rolled out across the University in a phased approach and will become the sole platform for engaging casual workers at the University. The first phase begins on 19 April 2021 for all Queen’s staff who engage Student Visa holders as casual workers. Any member of Queen’s Staff who engages casual workers must do so through the QWORK system from this date onwards.
All Queen's employees who are currently engaging any Student Visa holders to undertake casual work at Queen's should be invited to attend an information session to ensure you are fully informed of the changes and enabled to smoothly transition to the new system. Please contact QWORK Admin
- Project Update Four– April 2021
As of Monday 19 April 2021, the QWork system – a centralised, online system for the recruitment, engagement and payment of casual workers – is now live for all Student Visa Holders (previously known as Tier 4 students) who are active casual workers on campus and all members of Queen’s staff who engage Student Visa holders as casual workers.
That means that the management of all Student Visa holders, undertaking casual work on campus, will move to the QWork system from 19th April 2021.
Registering on QWork
If you are a Visa Student undertaking casual work on campus, or a Hiring Manager commissioning a Visa Student for casual work on campus, you should have already registered on QWork. Student Visa Holders will also need to complete your Right to Work (RTW) checks. You will have received an email from QWork inviting you to do so and can follow the QWork link to complete this.
If you not received an invite to register and need to do so, please contact the QWork team by emailing QWORK Admin
Key points to remember
Student Visa holders must not undertake any casual work on campus from 19th April unless it has been commissioned through QWork.
- Work assignments – and therefore payments – cannot be completed retrospectively through QWork. This means that from Monday 19 April all work assignments for Student Visa Holders must be commissioned and added to QWork in advance of the work commencing.
- The QWork system has been designed to enable casual workers to undertake work in more than one area of the University. However, in line with Student Visa restrictions, casual workers cannot be commissioned for work assignments that exceed the 20 hour limit. If a casual worker attempt to accept a work assignment that will mean their total weekly working hours exceed 20, the QWork system will block this.
- It is now the responsibility of the casual worker to submit their timesheet to their line manager for approval on a weekly basis. The timesheet must be submitted on time in order for payment to be made.
Timesheets up to 18 April 2021
All timesheets up to 18th April 2021 should be submitted to On Campus Jobs by Monday 26th April at 10am. These will be paid in the normal way at the end of May, and this will be the last payment run as the workers will be then be removed from the system. It is therefore vital that all payments to Student Visa holders who have undertaken work up to 18th April are processed and submitted by 26th April to ensure payment in May.
If you have any questions please contact the QWork team by emailing QWORK Admin
- What are the objectives of the project?