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End of year closedown: Impacts of COVID-19 & the EAV on current research grant holders

University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement Variation (EAV)

The University of Adelaide has implemented an Enterprise Agreement Variation (EAV) as a cost saving measure to reduce potential jobs loses at the University. One aspect of the EAV involves University staff purchasing 3 weeks leave. Purchased Leave is a complex arrangement where effectively staff get an additional 3 weeks leave and salary payments are reduced for a fixed period of time (between October 2020 and May 2021) as a consequence. The purchased leave provisions in the EAV apply to all salaried staff at the University including those paid on external grant funds. Any reduction in salary payments for staff employed on external grant funds will result in the accumulation of unspent grant funds in the individual grant project account and these funds will remain available for expenditure consistent with approved budget items and as agreed in the specific funding agreement we have with the grantor. This may result in some grant-funded projects needing to be extended for a short period. All project funds for these grants will continue to be allocated to the grant project and only used for the contracted and agreed purposes.

Visit the HR website for more information about the 2020 End of Year Closedown Period or the COVID-19 Jobs Protection Framework (including the University of Adelaide EAV).

The following advice is provided to ALL current grant holders at the University of Adelaide in order to assist you to manage any impacts of the implementation of the University of Adelaide’s EAV or other COVID-19 related project Variations that might be required for your grant project and funding.

Australian Research Council (ARC) – grant holders

The purchased leave provisions in the EAV apply to all salaried staff at the University including those paid on ARC grant funds. Any reduction in salary payments for staff employed on ARC funds will result in the accumulation of unspent ARC funds in the project account and be available for expenditure consistent with the objectives of the grant. This may result in some ARC grants needing to be extended for a short period of time or the ARC salary savings being available for use for other expenditures consistent with the objectives of the grant. ARC funds on these grants will continue to be applied to the relevant grant project account.

We have been advised by the ARC that we should report any Variations to grants resulting from purchased leave arrangements in the ARC’s End-of-Year Reporting Process and that these Variations should be assessed under the ARC’s COVID19 Variation provisions.

If your project is impacted – there is no requirement to submit a Variation to Funding Agreement (VFA) request at this stage. The Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Professions (SEAP Grants team seapgrants@adelaide.edu.au)  will be in touch with you early in 2021 to seek your response to the End of Year Report, including any requests to Carry Forward Funds, and request Variations to your project.

If you are in receipt of an ARC funded fellowship – please be aware that the ARC funding for your fellowship is quarantined and remains available to support your salary as agreed with the ARC. An extension may be required to your fellowship end date – if the end date falls within the EAV period. Again, any VFA to extend end date will be managed through the EOY process and should not be submitted now.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) – grant holders

The purchased leave provisions in the EAV apply to all salaried staff at the University including those paid on NHMRC grant funds. Any reduction in salary payments for staff employed on NHMRC funds will result in the accumulation of unspent NHMRC funds in the project account and be available for expenditure consistent with the objectives of the grant. This may result in some NHMRC grants needing to be extended for a short period of time or the NHMRC salary savings being available for use for other expenditures consistent with the objectives of the grant. NHMRC funds on these grants will continue to be applied to the relevant grant project account.

The NHMRC has provided advice that we that we should report any Variations to grants resulting from purchased leave arrangements as requested in their ‘bulk variation’ approach noting that the grant holder MUST submit any required Variations or extension requests for NHMRC grants PRIOR to the end date. The Health Grants team in Research Services (raohealth@adelaide.edu.au ) will make direct contact with you to ascertain the need to request a Variation to your project. Grant holders whose grants end on 31 December 2020 have already been contacted and any Variations (extensions beyond the indicated Finish Date, up to 12 months) to these grants will need to be submitted prior to 30 November 2020. Grant holders whose grants end between January 2021 and February 2021 will be contacted shortly with Variation instructions.

Any NHMRC Variations managed through these arrangements will be managed off-system by NHMRC, with only the changes made reflected in RGMS, supported by an email advice to the Health Grants team and the CIA.

Other grant holders

If you hold a grant with a sponsor other than the ARC or NHMRC, and you anticipate a significant change in timelines or other Variation due to COVID-19 impacts (including the University of Adelaide EAV) please make contact with the Research Grants Unit (researchgrants@adelaide.edu.au) to discuss your concerns and we will provide advice on any required communication with your Sponsor and/or facilitate the submission of a Variation request to the sponsor.

University of Adelaide end of year close down period

The University of Adelaide will be closed for business on Friday 18 December 2020 through to Sunday 10 January 2021. As a consequence, the Research Services Branch will also be closed from 5 pm on 17 December 2020 and will re-open on the morning of 11 January 2021. Research Services staff (including the Research Grants Unit) will be on annual leave during this time and will not be checking or responding to emails or phone messages during the close-down time.

Please contact our office if you need advice on the submission of any grant applications where a deadline might fall during the University close-down period. All grant applications, funding agreements, reporting requirements or other matters that might require resolution during our University closure period (18 December 2020  – 11 January 2021) will need to be addressed prior to the 17 December 2020.

Please visit the University website to stay up-to-date with information about the close-down period, and access information about HR and Finance and Procurement processing timelines and other deadlines.

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