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Voluntary Severance

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The University is launching a Voluntary Severance Scheme. The scheme is for staff on an academic contract at grade 7 and above who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Scheme. This is a one off exercise, which is unlikely to be repeated in the near future on these terms.

Page last updated 12th December 2023


Full details including criteria and application information is contained in this Enhanced Voluntary Severance Scheme guidance document. Frequently asked questions can be found below. For those staff who decide to apply their application should be completed using the Voluntary Severance Application Form.

Timeline for process

Scheme launched: 22nd November 2023

Application Deadline: 5pm, 4th January 2024 

Voluntary Severance Review Panel considers applications W/C 8th January 2024 

Extension to application deadline

(Updated 12th December 2023)

Both UCU and members of staff have asked that the deadline for the Voluntary Severance Scheme be extended. In light of this request the University scheme will now have a deadline for returned applications of 5pm 18th January 2024. Applications submitted after the 4th and by the 18th of January will be considered the week commencing 22nd January 2024.
For staff who have already submitted an application or intend to do so by the original deadline of the 4th January, their application will be considered the week of the 8th January 2024 as previously confirmed. 

Frequently asked questions

The FAQs listed below do not provide the full details of the Scheme. Colleagues are requested to read the full Enhanced Voluntary Severance Scheme details if they decide to submit an application for Voluntary Severance:

Why is the University launching a voluntary severance scheme?

The significant drop in the student intake for 2023 combined with an increased cost base has resulted in a significant operational deficit for this year that will also impact in future years. The scheme provides an opportunity to make savings whilst seeking to prevent and mitigate the potential for any future redundancy considerations. Importantly it seeks to ensure along with the ongoing Project 28 work streams, the continued financial sustainability of the institution.

What is a voluntary severance scheme?

A voluntary severance scheme offers an opportunity for qualifying employees to apply to leave the University on a voluntary basis, e.g. to pursue other career or personal interests, and in doing so are provided with a monetary package to support them leaving the University. The arrangement is entirely voluntary to both the University and the employee.

What is a voluntary severance payment?

A ‘voluntary severance payment’ is any payment in connection with a mutually agreed and voluntary early departure from employment.

Is the scheme likely to be open again in the future?

No. This is a one off initiative unlikely to be offered again on these significantly enhanced terms in the near future.

Who is eligible to apply for voluntary severance?

To be eligible to make an application to this scheme the individual should be an employee:

• Operating on an academic contract at Grade 7 or above,

• Have at least 1 year of continuous service at the University at the time of their application.

The following staff on academic contracts are not eligible

• Staff with less than one year of service as at the 18th January 2024.

• Non-core funded staff.

• Individuals who have already submitted and/or had approved their resignation for whatever reason. This is inclusive of retirement.

• Staff on fixed-term contracts who have less than two years remaining on their current contract.

If I apply for voluntary severance will my application be approved?

The University reserves the right to refuse an application for voluntary severance. There is no guarantee of approval for any application made for voluntary severance. The severance scheme is voluntary on both the University’s and employee’s part.

Has the University provided guidance as to what the criteria for approval consists of?

Yes there is an illustrative list of criteria that will be taken into consideration identified in the full Scheme details. This includes guidance and criteria provided for the Head of School/Department or DVC to consider when making their recommendation on the request.

What is the voluntary severance payment based on?

For eligible staff the severance arrangement will be 7 months based on your basic gross salary (pro-rated salary for part-time staff) as determined by the November 2023 payroll. This excludes any allowances that are paid to staff.

Is there a cap on the amount of severance paid?

Yes. Any severance payment made to an individual employee who has their severance request approved would be capped at £50,000.

How do I obtain a voluntary severance payment quote?

You should request a severance payment quote from your HR Manager. The Voluntary Severance page provides an Illustrative Guide to what the payment would be for staff on the 51 point pay spine.

We strongly advise you to obtain a quote before the 20th December.

However If you are asking for a quote after the 20th December please send your request to There may be a delay in receiving a response due to the Christmas Holiday period, however the mailbox will be checked at specific dates during this period.

Are severance payments subject to deductions?

Any severance payment will usually be paid free of tax up to a value of £30,000. Any payment above this amount will be subject to normal tax and national insurance deductions upon payment.

However, should HM Revenue and Customs deem any aspect of the severance payment to be taxable, this will be paid by the individual employee.

What is the process if I want to apply having obtained a severance payment quote?

If you decide to apply for Voluntary Severance you should complete the Voluntary Severance Application Form that is available on the Personnel website. In completing the application you should outline ideally against criteria identified in Scheme document, the business reason/s why you should be considered for voluntary severance and any other information that you consider helpful.

This form should be forwarded to

Following receipt a submission via a standard form will be obtained from the Dean/Head’s or if required the DVC, to support the request or not considering the criteria outlined in the Scheme document.

This will be returned to the Director of Personnel and along with your application will be considered by the Voluntary Severance Review Panel early in January.

How will you communicate the outcome of my application?

Everyone who applies for voluntary severance will receive confirmation as to the outcome of their application as soon as the panel has met. We anticipate outcome correspondence will be sent within a week of the panel sitting.

If your application is approved you will need to sign a Settlement Agreement.

What is a settlement agreement?

A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding agreement which records the terms on which the termination of employment by Voluntary Severance takes place. Both you and Hope sign and agree to the terms of the agreement.

Why do I need to consult a lawyer on the agreement?

For the settlement agreement to be legally binding and to ensure that you are able to take independent legal advice on the contents of the document, you must ask a lawyer to review the settlement agreement. Hope will contribute to the costs of this up to £400 incl. VAT.

What if I resign after applying for the Scheme but before my application is approved and a settlement agreement entered to?

Your application will no longer be considered, and you will not be eligible for any payment under the Scheme.

Will the University make any payments to my pension?

The University will not make any payments in respect of pension enhancements to individuals leaving the University due to severance.

When will I leave the University if my application is approved?

This will vary for different members of staff. Notice periods for any employee who has their application accepted will either be worked or a payment could be paid in lieu of notice. Alternatively, a combination of the two aforementioned options may be determined. Confirmation of notice requirements will be communicated in the acceptance letter and included in the Settlement Agreement and will be based on operational requirements. The agreed termination date should normally be no later than the 3rd May 2024.

I am sponsored to work by the University what would happen if I applied for voluntary severance and my application was approved?

For staff members who are currently sponsored by the University under the skilled worker visa route, sponsorship will end on the agreed leaving date. The University are required to inform the Home Office when sponsorship of an individual ends as is the individual.

What happens after the Home Office is notified?

The notification will trigger the following:

If the sponsored worker has less than 60 calendar days remaining on their visa, the UKVI may decide not to take any action. However, the sponsored worker must leave the UK or submit a valid immigration application prior to their visa expiry date.

Where the visa has more than 60 calendar days left before the expiry, the UKVI will normally reduce the length of the visa to 60 calendar days. The UKVI will usually contact the sponsored worker at their last known residential address by post, or via e-mail and explain that they must leave the UK or submit a valid immigration application to remain in the UK by a specified date.

The 60-day period is discretionary and cannot be guaranteed. It can also take the UKVI much longer than 60 days to contact the sponsored worker. This makes it difficult to provide exact guidance as to when an individual must leave the UK or submit a valid application to remain in the UK. As a guideline, sponsored workers should plan as though they will be given 60 days from their employment termination date.

The 60-day period is not multi-entry and once the individual leaves the UK, they may not be permitted to re-enter on the same visa as they will no longer be entering for the purpose for which their visa was granted

What is the impact of severance on accompanying dependents?

When a sponsored worker's visa is cancelled, the UKVI will also cancel the visas of any family members whose are linked to the main applicant’s visa.

Can an individual apply for a new visa in the UK after they have been terminated?

Provided the visa (or cancellation period) has not expired, the individual may be eligible to apply, within the UK, to switch to another visa category or change Sponsor under the same category.

If the individual is not eligible to apply (for example because they left the UK and they have re-entered as a visitor), then the only option will be to apply from overseas.

We strongly advise anyone who is sponsored to get clear advice as to the implication of them successfully applying for voluntary severance.

Useful Links

Email to staff 22-11-2023

Enhanced Voluntary Severance Scheme

Voluntary Severance Application Form

Illustrative Guide



Your HR Manager details can be found at Meet the team.