This guidance note sets out the various types of contractual arrangements that individuals may be appointed to within the College.

Contract guidance for managers [pdf]

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

Contract types:

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
Variable Hours
  • May be appropriate in circumstances where there is ongoing requirement for the work, but the hours of work fluctuate due to the operational requirements/demand, e.g. if hours of teaching are dependent on student enrolment to a course. 
  • The contract will set out a fixed hourly rate but will not usually guarantee a fixed number of hours per week/month/year. 
  • The number of hours available will be confirmed as far as possible in advance, usually on an annual basis and normally at the start of the academic year.
  • May be 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 the guidance document found in the red box at the top.