Discipline in the context of employment should be pedagogical and not penalize. Therefore, disciplinary sanctions should be proportionate to the seriousness of the fault. According to the theory of progressive discipline, there is a continuum that ranges from an oral reminder to written reprimands to a short suspension without pay, an extended suspension and ultimately dismissal. While the continuation of progressive discipline is the expected standard, it is not necessary for the most serious employment offences, or if the employee has a well-established disciplinary act, the employer may invoke a fault that does not justify dismissal, but it is the last “straw”. Collective agreements are very different as to whether a worker should take a leave of absence, when to be taken and how it is intended. At least most agreements require employees to take at least two weeks off per year. Once an interim agreement has been reached between the employer and union representatives, each union member has the opportunity to vote in favour of its acceptance or rejection. If at least 50% of union members who vote accept the agreement, it becomes legally binding. If union members do not accept the agreement, the employer and union representatives can continue negotiations. Alternatively, the union may call for a strike vote. In addition, a strike vote must obtain at least 50% of the vote. Very rarely, if a union cannot obtain ratification or strike authorization, it will waive its right to represent workers. Unions representing faculty staff internationally have attempted to use collective bargaining as a means of making it a legal reality.
At the same time, higher education has grown rapidly in almost all countries since the 1960s. Higher education has moved from a small, relatively elitist and self-managed education and research system in many countries to its current status as a large industry offering mass education. Higher education must now constantly meet the perceived needs of economic policies, the labour market and education, which have been facilitated by the increased use of market mechanisms and private contributions, both students (tuition fees) and businesses (to finance research).