Staff Study Assistance Procedure

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

Intent

Staff Study Assistance Procedure is designed to encourage personal and professional development of staff and to benefit James Cook University (JCU) as a whole.

Scope

This procedure applies to continuing and fixed-term staff members appointed for 12 months or more at JCU Australia.  It does not apply to casual staff or short-term academic visitors.

Definitions

Award – a degree, diploma or certificate contained in the list of approved Awards of James Cook University.
Class Attendance Leave - time off with or without pay to attend classes.
Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) – a place where JCU or another tertiary educational institution receives Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding and the student pays a student contribution amount (previously known as HECS).
Course - a course of study and instruction leading to an award.
Examination Leave – time off with or without pay to attend examinations
Full Fee Paying Course - a course where James Cook University or another tertiary educational institution charges a course or tuition fee that is not supported by the Commonwealth Grant scheme funding (Domestic Fee Paying).
Financial Assistance - includes payment of some or all of the course fees in respect of an approved course of study at JCU or another tertiary educational institution, which is reimbursed on achievement of a minimum pass grade. Financial assistance does not include amenities and services fees.
Non-Award Subjects - subjects that do not lead to a formal award.
Standard Hours - between 6.00 am and 6.00 pm.
Study Leave - time off with or without pay for the purpose of studying.
Student Contribution Amount – a payment that the student will have to pay towards their education even though the Australia Government subsidises Commonwealth supported places.  
Study Period - the period of time in which a subject is undertaken. Each study period has a designated start and end date, census date, last date by which students can add or substitute subjects without prior approval of subject coordinator, date for withdrawal without academic penalty, and date for release of subject results. In exceptional circumstances, the start and end date of a study period may vary for an individual subject.
Unit - a unit of study entered in the Unit Register of the James Cook University or the equivalent at another tertiary institution.

Procedure

1.    Categories of Study, including income tax implications

1.1.    Course of study are categorised under the following criteria to determine the level of study assistance offered to staff members, and also directly attribute to taxation obligations.


1.1.1.    Category A applies where the course is directly related to the employees’ current position. This may be reflected in the Position Description and it would also be expected that the study requested would further contribute to the employee successfully performing at a high standard in most of aspects of the role.
1.1.2.    Category B applies where the study course is only generally related to the specific employment of the staff member, or could be relevant to other positions at JCU and contributes to the continuing development of the staff member as an individual.

1.2.    A staff member’s application must strictly align to one of the two categories of study, and is subject to income tax as per the table below:

 

Category A

Category B

Commonwealth Supported

Subject to income tax

Subject to income tax

Full Fee Paying (Domestic Fee Paying)

Not subject to income tax

Subject to income tax

1.3.    The category of study does not form part of the assessment criteria.
1.4.    Applications for category B courses will not be rejected because the study is not directly relevant to a work area, but the extent of the assistance provided will be determined on a case by case basis.

2.    Place of Study

2.1.    Staff Study Assistance is primarily to support study undertaken at JCU.  
2.2.    Where JCU does not offer a particular discipline, consideration may be given to support study at another institution.

3.    Financial Assistance

3.1.    Staff Study Assistance Scheme may include payment of Course Fees and/or Student Contribution Amount.
3.2.    A staff member holding a scholarship/award which provides payment of fees may only apply for Study Assistance Payment for fees not met by the scholarship/award.
3.3.    The staff member is responsible for paying any/all other costs associated with the study program.
3.4.    Study Assistance Payment will not be provided for repeat subjects.
3.5.    Financial Assistance will only be reimbursed in line with Payment of Financial Assistance (Section 6).
3.6.    The staff member may be required to repay financial assistance to JCU in line with Termination of Employment (Section 9).

4.    Other Assistance – Leave

4.1.    In addition to Financial Assistance, Staff Study Assistance Scheme may include Class Attendance Leave, Examination Leave and Study Leave, subject to the limits per each Category of Study.


4.1.1.    Staff members should arrange study schedules that will not adversely affect their work commitments.
4.1.2.    Any other assistance will only be granted during standard hours.
4.1.3.    Where Other Assistance - Leave is granted for Category A approval, the staff member will be granted the leave without loss of pay.
4.1.4.    Where Other Assistance – Leave is granted for Category B approval, the staff member will be required to access their personal leave provisions (e.g. annual leave, leave without pay) or request an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate the time required to attend classes.

4.2.    Examination Leave

4.2.1.    Examination leave may be granted covering the time necessary to sit the examination plus one half day for each unit undertaken, to be taken before the final examination.
4.2.2.    An application for examination leave, including a copy of the examination timetable, must be submitted to the manager at least two weeks before the examination.

4.3.    Study Leave

4.3.1.    Staff members who do not access Class Attendance Leave or Examination Leave may be granted paid time off in the study period, up to a maximum of 35 hours per study period.
4.3.2.    This will be reviewed on a case by case basis by their Manager having consideration for operational requirements in the work area. The staff member must submit a schedule of proposed leave for the study period prior to approval.

4.4.    Class Attendance Leave – Category A Only

4.4.1.    Paid Class Attendance Leave may be granted to attend classes without loss of pay, subject to the following limits:

  • Up to 6 hours per week (pro rata);
  • The number of hours of paid study time requested is no more than half the time required to attend classes during standard hours.

4.5.    Class Attendance Leave - Category B Only

4.5.1.    Class Attendance Leave may be granted to attend classes subject to the following limits, although the staff member will be required to access their personal leave provisions (e.g. annual leave, leave without pay) or request an individual flexibility arrangement to accommodate the time required to attend classes:

  • Up to 6 hours per week (pro rata);
  • The number of hours of paid study time requested is no more than half the time required to attend classes during standard hours.

5.    Application Procedure

5.1.    Applications for Staff Study Assistance must be made on the prescribed application form as amended from time to time, and include:


5.1.1.    Confirmation of eligibility.
5.1.2.    Full details of course/subjects intending to study.
5.1.3.    Details of the financial assistance requested.
5.1.4.    Details of the other assistance – leave requested, including consideration given to the impact of the staff member’s absence on day-to-day operations including client service and/or other staff in the work area.
5.1.5.    Relevance of the course of study to the staff members employment at JCU.
5.1.6.    Self-assessment of the Category of Study.
5.1.7.    Self-assessment of the requirement for income tax.


5.2.    The application must be forwarded to the manager at least one month prior to the commencement of study.

6.    Assessment and Criteria

6.1.    The assessment of an application will be based on the following Criteria:


6.1.1.    Confirmation of eligibility.
6.1.2.    The course of study is either 1) a course leading to an award; or 2) a non-award subject that compliments previous study and is relevant to the workplace.
6.1.3.    Relevance of the course of study to the staff member’s employment at JCU.
6.1.4.    Staff member’s performance.
6.1.5.    Study Time requested can be accommodated without adversely affecting JCU operations including client service and/or other staff in the work area.


6.2.    Where a staff commences a new role impacting the Study Assistance approval, the staff members application must be re-assessed in consideration of the new role, which may result in a change of category of study, and/or changes to the Study Assistance approved, or cessation of the Study Assistance.

6.3.    Study Assistance approval is void where the staff member ceases employment.
6.4.    Role of the manager:

6.4.1.    Assess the staff member’s application in line with the criteria.
6.4.2.    Ensure the staff member’s application is strictly aligned to Category A or Category B, including assessment of whether the study is subject to income tax.
6.4.3.    Provide a recommendation to approve or reject the application for Staff Study Assistance to the Director Human Resources.

6.5.    Role of the Director Human Resources:

6.5.1.    Ensure the staff member’s application is strictly aligned to Category A or Category B, including assessment of whether the study is subject to income tax.
6.5.2.    Approve or reject the application for Staff Study Assistance.

7.    Assessment Outcome and Notification

7.1.    The Director Human Resources will ensure the staff member, and the manager, are informed of the decision in writing.


7.1.1.    Where the application has not been successful, the staff member and the manager will be provided the reasons why the application is not approved.

8.    Payment of Financial Assistance

8.1.    Requirements for seeking payment of financial assistance.


8.1.1.    Financial assistance will only be reimbursed where the pre-approved study is completed and a minimum pass grade is achieved.
8.1.2.    A claim for financial assistance should be made at the end of each study period and should be made in the year the expense was incurred.
8.1.3.    Financial assistance will be void, and therefore not be reimbursed, if a period of greater than 6 months expires after the grade/award is confirmed.
8.1.4.    Financial assistance will be void, and therefore not be reimbursed, if the staff member’s employment ends.


8.2.    Claiming reimbursement of Financial Assistance.

8.2.1.    The staff member should complete the prescribed form as amended from time to time, including:

  • A copy of the receipt for payment of the course fees; and
  • A statement of results or a statement of satisfactory progress (as appropriate), confirming a minimum of a pass grade is achieved.

8.3.    On approval, reimbursement will be made via the staff member’s payroll as follows.


8.3.1.    Where the subject requires the payment of a Student Contribution Amount, payment will be paid through the payroll system on successful completion of subjects. Payment to employees for course fees that attract a Student Contribution Amount will be subject to income tax in all cases.
8.3.2.    Where the course is Category B, a staff study assistance payment will be paid through the payroll system on successful completion of subjects. Payment to the employee for course fees will be subject to income tax in all cases.
8.3.3.    Where the course is Category A and the subject requires payment of fees other than a Student Contribution Amount, (i.e. Full fee paying (Domestic Fee Paying)) a study assistance payment will be made through the payroll system on completion of the relevant taxation declaration and on successful completion of subjects. Payment for fees that fit into this category will not be subject to income tax.

9.    Termination of Employment

9.1.    Where a staff member departs JCU without completing at least one year of service after the completion of any subjects which form part of the approved study course, then the staff member will be required to repay the amount of fees paid by JCU over the previous year.
9.2.    If a staff member's employment ceases due to the expiry of their contract or JCU terminating their employment (other than on the grounds of unsatisfactory performance and/or misconduct), the condition of discharging their commitment to JCU will not apply.

Related policy instruments

Related policy instruments include but are not limited to the following documents. Further related instruments can be found at the JCU Human Resources website.

Staff Study Assistance Policy
JCU Enterprise Agreement 2013 – 2016

Schedules/Appendices

Staff Study Assistance Scheme Application Form

Administration

Approval Details

Policy  Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and  Resources

Version  no

15-1

Date  for next review

18/12/2018

Revision History

[Approval date - the date the Policy Sponsor approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment]

[Implementation Date - the date the procedure was published in the Policy Library and is the date the procedure takes effect]

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

15-1

18/12/2015

21/12/2015

These procedures, which were embedded within the  Staff Study Assistance Scheme (re-titled: Staff Study Assistance Policy) have  been updated to align with JCU’s policy framework and the JCU Enterprise  Agreement 2013 – 2016 and placed into this procedure template.

Deputy Director, Human Resources

Keywords

Staff Study Assistance, Study Assistance,  Staff Study, Development, Staff Development