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Engaging people for work

The following guidance sets out the different ways to engage people for working at the University.


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Approval date
14 Mar 2024
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1. Regular or substantive contracts

Open-ended or permanent contract

This should be the most frequently used form of University contract. All such full-time and part-time appointments carry full employment rights with no fixed end date. University recruitment and selection procedures must be used when engaging under such a contract. The minimum duration of employment will normally be three months.

Fixed-term contract

There are occasions when employment on a fixed-term basis may be appropriate. Possible reasons for a fixed-term contract may include: funding, maternity cover, sickness absence, teaching buyout or cover and sabbaticals.

Where there is a continuing need to fill the role after the end of the fixed-term contract (for instance if a substantive member of staff who is on maternity leave or long-term sickness absence does not return), please consult your HR Business Partner.

Please note, if an individual is engaged on a fixed-term contract(s) on a successive basis for four or more years, the position becomes open-ended or permanent.

2. Variable and part-time working in Education & Research

Within Higher Education there are specific provisions made for individuals working in teaching or research activities, detailed as follows:

Part-time and variable hours (for example, Teaching Fellows)

These contracts support the academic staff and contribute significantly to the teaching activities across the university by providing some of the following input:

  • specialist professional contribution, which is not available from existing academic staff

  • teaching cover for lecturers undertaking research

  • teaching input where the breadth of the full academic role is not required and a permanent contract is not appropriate (such as summer schools)

  • temporary cover − for example long-term sickness and sabbaticals

  • receive a Schedule of Assignment which confirms the mutuality of obligation between the individual and the University for an agreed assignment.

Read more about part-time and variable hour teaching fellows.

3. Hourly paid workers

Appropriate use of hourly paid workers

It's important that individuals are only engaged on an hourly paid contract basis where it is appropriate to do so. It is the responsibility of all managers in the University to ensure that any hourly paid workers who are engaged in their areas are only done so appropriately and on an ad-hoc basis.

Any individual in the University wishing to engage an hourly paid worker must follow the guidance on the use of hourly paid workers.

Read our guidelines for students providing support on a consultancy assignment.

Find out more about recruiting and managing hourly paid workers.

4. External Examiners

The University attaches great importance to peer review from External Examiners for both Taught and Research activities.

External Examiners for undergraduate studies, referred to as 'External Examiners (UG)', are employed as workers. To engage an External Examiner (UG), you must ask the individual to complete a payroll registration form and conduct a right to work check with them prior to work commencing. These forms need to be sent to your HR Operations Co-ordinator for input on iTrent and to ensure payment.

External Examiners for higher degrees (such as Masters or PhDs), referred to as 'External Examiners (PG)' are engaged as contractors and not employed. To engage an External Examiner (PG), please follow the External Examiner payment process.

5. Contract for Services − Non-Employment Status Assessment (NESA) for Contractors

You may be able to engage an individual as a contractor – subject to the status of the engagement under the tax/His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules. This is actioned through a Contract for Services, which is managed through Purchasing Services.

To action this you need to follow the NESA process.

6. Agency workers

If you have a requirement for a temporary worker to be engaged through an agency, please ensure you have the approval of the Director of Finance. The management guidance on the appointment of agency workers provides instructions on how to make such a request and should be read before engaging any agency workers.

The management guidance and further information on the process is available via the Purchasing Services website.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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