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Contract types and guidance for managers

Consideration should be given to the most appropriate contractual arrangement when appointing staff. The factors to be taken into account when deciding on the type of contract to be used include:

  • the hours, working pattern and duration of employment
  • the source of funding - external or internal;
  • the length of the funding and the likelihood of renewal;
  • the nature of the work - specific and time-limited project or an open-ended task which is part of the core function and therefore likely to continue;
  • the contracts of employment issued to other staff engaged in similar work or from the same funding source
Type of contract Suitability for use and length of engagement
  • Where there is an ongoing need for the work to be carried out
  • Indefinite period
Fixed term
  • Where the individual is needed for a fixed period of time for a specific purpose e.g. to work on a research project
  • Normally less than 4 years
Senior Research Investigator (SRI)
  • Where the individual is fully retired; and
  • College wishes to retain research collaboration with individual
Annualised hours
  • Set pattern i.e. term time only; or
  • Specific number of hours
  • Open-ended, fixed term or temporary
Zero hours
  • No set hours
(N.B. do not use where average hours are likely to exceed fte of 152 hours per month or for roles to be returned in REF 2013)
  • More than 12 weeks
  • Open-ended, fixed term or temporary
  • To cover a specific  staff absence, such as maternity/sick/sabbatical leave, or whilst recruiting to a vacancy
  • Normally for approx. 1 year
(N.B. maternity cover contracts may exceed 1 year)
Casual letter of understanding
  • A maximum of 12 weeks
(N.B. student demonstrators may continue to work on a casual basis for the duration of their student demonstrating period.)
Agency agreement
  • Less than 12 weeks

For full information please view our Contract guidance for managers [pdf]

Casual worker guidance

There are occasions when departments need to respond quickly to temporary changes to service demands and, to do so, they may engage casual workers. Casual workers are normally used to meet these demands where the work can be performed on an “as and when” basis, for a maximum period of up to 12 weeks. Their engagement with the College is distinct from employees as they are not required to be available for work, and are free to turn down work if offered.

For further information please view our Engaging casual workers - guidance for managers

Templates and forms

Fixed term workers

Wherever possible the College will appoint to open ended contracts. When an individual is issued with a fixed term contract (FTC) their contract will normally end automatically when they reach their agreed finishing point, so there is no need to give notice. After four years, staff with continuing fixed funding will normally be transferred to an open ended contract.

For further information, please view our Fixed Term Worker guidance for staff and managers.