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Sabbs and Employment

Guidance on the employment status of sabbatical officers


Following many years of uncertainty relating to the employment status of sabbatical officers, we are delighted to launch this guidance for students’ unions. Underpinning great unions are great officers. Having a clear set of rights and responsibilities will really empower student leaders to go out and deliver for their members.

For a long time unions have struggled to reconcile the important democratic nature of sabbatical office with the need to handle difficult disciplinary issues carefully- and often, confidentially. This guidance goes some way to squaring that circle.

This pack contains model guidance documents relating to employment contracts, disciplinary and performance policies in addition to addressing long standing questions around no-confidence. NUS have worked closely with leading employment lawyers as well as using best practice from both the student movement and wider voluntary sector. We’ve also included some documents and tools NUS has used following our own governance review in 2009.

Using the tools and advice in this pack is just the start. Building solid training and induction schemes for officers is vital to allow them to hit the ground running. However, good human resource administration is just as important for student leaders as any other member of staff. Please use the tools and examples in this guide to support that process.

As part our role in developing and championing strong students’ unions, next term we will be launching a new project developing a standards panel for SU Sabbatical Officers- driving up the quality of elected sabbatical office across the UK. Look out for it and consider getting involved- your input will be vital to its’ success.

If you have any specific queries, please get in touch with the Democracy & Governance Unit at NUS.


NOTE: NUS Model Constitutions

In light of the advice herein, we will shortly be issuing revised versions of our model constitutions for FE and HE unions. Look out on the mailbases and NUS Connect for more details.


Manojkumar Iyer
8:49pm on 31 Mar 12 found it really useful !!!! good guide and is really very helpful !!1
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