Casual workers

Casual workers are hired on an irregular basis for a short period of time - no more than 12 weeks for casual workers, or up to 12 months for casual teachers and examiners. There is no continuing commitment from the employer to offer work, and no obligation on the part of the casual worker to do the work offered.

Casual workers

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Casual workers in the University:

  • do not hold formally graded posts, but an appropriate equivalent grade for the work should be determined with reference to the generic grade descriptions
  • should be paid at an hourly rate that equates directly to the appropriate grade for the work and a point on the pay spine in accordance with the individual's experience (for casual pay spine see Documents in the right hand menu)
  • should normally be engaged for no more than 12 weeks
  • are issued a casual letter of engagement and not a full University contract of employment (a proforma letter of engagement is available from the Templates webpage)
  • have statutory minimum entitlements regarding holiday, sickness, maternity, etc.  Holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks (the equivalent of 28 working days)
  • must be able to demonstrate that they have the Right to Work in the UK
  • can be paid on either the occasional (casual) payroll, or the main payroll

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Casual workers may request to join the NEST pension scheme from day 1 of their engagement. The casual worker letter of engagement explains that the assessment for auto-enrolment for pensions is deferred for a period of 3 months from the date of engagement, so those casual workers whose engagements are for no longer than 12 weeks will not become eligible for auto-enrolment.

For further information visit the Pensions website.

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In line with the rules concerning agency workers a casual worker may be re-engaged for a further period of up to 12 weeks provided that:

  • the gap between engagement is a minimum of 6 weeks, and
  • there is no prior agreement or guarantee that further work will be ongoing

If there is an understanding that the work will be ongoing, even if it is intermittent, then the individual should be treated as a variable hours employee, with a full CMS contract of employment, from the outset.

Casual teaching and related activity is subject to separate guidance, outlined below.

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If you are participating in the pilot to record timesheets in HR Self-Service, please visit the dedicated Staff Gateway page for guidance or contact your HR administrator.

Casual teaching

Individuals engaged to provide temporary teaching support (typically in the form of an ad hoc series of lectures, classes, or seminars, but may also include ad hoc demonstrating or invigilation) for periods of less than 1 year are subject to the arrangements for casual teaching.

Appointments involving the provision of temporary teaching support for a period of one complete calendar year or more should normally be made to an appropriate standard post, for example, Departmental Lecturer. Any other proposal must be discussed with the relevant divisional office or equivalent authority.

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As detailed in circular PERS(19)02 responsibility for fees for demonstrating and occasional lectures has passed from PRAC to Personnel Committee, and the following process should now be followed.

For further information see Circular PERS(19)02

Fees for demonstrating

Rates for Demonstrating should be set as an hourly rate at the appropriate grade as determined by HERA job evaluation.

  • Demonstrators have been evaluated at Grade 5
  • Senior Demonstrators have been evaluated at Grade 6

Departments may select a rate within the range but are advised to be consistent in application.

Fees for occasional lectures

Internal lecturers should be paid an hourly rate with reference to the University pay spine at Grade 7. It is expected that preparation time of at least 30 minutes per hour of lecture is included in the number of hours paid.

External Lecturers should be paid at an hourly rate with reference to HERA job evaluation and the University pay spine, and taking into account the expertise of the external lecturer. Departments should agree the rate in advance and should take into account preparation time of at least 30 minutes per hour of lecture.

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Casual examiners

Casual examiners and assessors should have appointment records set up in Core HR as per all other casual workers, in accordance with the University’s guidance on the casual payment process. Queries in relation to this process should be raised with the department’s HRIS administrator, or the HRIS Data Centre for faculties/departments in the Humanities Division.

Letters of engagement for casual examiners and assessors are issued by the EAP portal, once the department has nominated the individual in the portal to conduct work on the required examination board(s), and the portal has confirmed the individual’s examining appointment(s). The EAP portal will indicate when information required to pay casual examiners and assessors is missing – departments should follow the guidance on the EAP support pages in order to resolve these issues.  

For guidance on using the EAP portal, departments should consult the Examiner Appointments and Payments webpage in the first instance, and should direct any further queries on policy and process to Examinations and Assessments at