Six months’ notice too restrictive, says scholar

Academic denied permission to start new job until after REF deadline

October 31, 2013

An academic who was denied permission to move jobs until after the research excellence framework deadline has claimed that a six-month notice period constitutes an unfair restriction of labour.

Andy Kesson resigned as lecturer in early modern studies at the University of Kent in June after he was offered a senior lecturer position in Renaissance studies at the University of Roehampton.

But he was shocked to learn that Kent intended to enforce contractual terms that would prevent him leaving until January.

It later shortened the notice period to allow him to move to Roehampton on 1 November – the day after the REF census date.

Dr Kesson, whose research was graded as 4* in a recent internal review, said that the lengthy notice period was at odds with current practice at Kent and higher education in general, where two months’ notice was standard.

“A few months’ notice seems normal practice, but the REF is making [Kent] behave strangely,” Dr Kesson said.

“It’s frustrating when your former employer is saying they still employ you and are forbidding you from going elsewhere.

“It has meant five months of legal wrangling, which has not been good for my health,” he added.

A Kent spokesman said that notice periods were set out clearly in academics’ contracts, with those submitting their notice by 31 March being able to leave at the end of July.

Those who submitted their notice between April and August had to remain until 31 December, although this had been shortened in Dr Kesson’s case, he added.

The academic said he understood Kent’s position, but April to June was a period when many academics moved jobs.

He added that the lengthy notice period had put “a brake on staff mobility”.

“In effect, [the university] was asking me to turn down a promotion and a pay rise to remain at Kent,” Dr Kesson said.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework