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Human Resources


1. Policy Statement

1.1    This Policy sets out the University’s position on engaging its workforce. It has been developed in recognition of the diversity of activity undertaken at the University.

1.2    The University uses a range of contractual arrangements to reflect the needs of its institutions. This may involve the use of casual appointments to respond to peaks in demand or temporary need. 

1.3    The University is committed to providing job security and stability for members of its workforce, whilst balancing the University’s on-going requirement for flexibility in resourcing.

1.4    The University is committed to engaging all members of its workforce in a fair and transparent way, using the most appropriate contractual arrangements.  

1.5    As an employer, the University has a responsibility to prevent illegal working and will ensure that right to work checks are carried out for all forms of engagement before any work is undertaken in the UK, in compliance with the relevant immigration legislation.

1.6    The Policy is accompanied by the Workforce Policy Guidelines, which are designed to provide institutions with information on, and advice about, the available contractual arrangements. 

1.7    This Policy is not contractual and may be amended from time to time, in light of changes in legislation and operational requirements, through the normal University procedures. The Policy is not intended to remove any existing protections or entitlements afforded to employees under their contracts of employment or collective agreements between the University and trade unions.


Printable version of the Workforce Policy [PDF]


2. Scope of Policy

2.1    This Policy applies to all institutions across the University when engaging employees, workers and contracts for services.

2.2    For clarity, this Policy does not apply to other separate institutions with close relationships with the University, including the Colleges, who will have their own employment policies and practices. 


3. Roles and Responsibilities

3.1    The Human Resources (HR) Division, in conjunction with specialist Unified Administrative Services (UAS) as required, will 

  • advise on the most appropriate contractual arrangement to use 
  • regularly review and audit practice across the University 
  • provide up to date guidance to ensure best practice is adopted and shared.


3.2    Heads of Institutions need to be aware of this Policy and ensure that the principles are being followed appropriately in their institutions.

3.3    Line managers need to ensure they are aware of the University's principles on engaging its workforce and that they are adhered to in practice. 

3.4    The University is committed to working with its trade union representatives to review employment practices to ensure the principles set out in this policy are being followed appropriately.    


4. Contractual Arrangements

4.1    The University is committed to providing as much job security as possible to all members of its workforce, appropriate to the circumstances.  

4.2    When engaging its workforce, an institution will need to determine the most appropriate contractual arrangement based on the circumstances.  An individual can be identified as:

  • Employed (i.e. an employee); 
  • Engaged as a Worker; or
  • Self-Employed.


4.3    Employees

4.3.1    Where there is a sufficiently meaningful and predictable level of regular work over a given period, the University will seek to offer an open-ended or a fixed-term employment contract.

4.3.2    An open-ended contract is for an indefinite period with no specified end date and is terminable on notice.  Where there is a reasonable expectation that a role will be ongoing in nature, this will be the standard employment arrangement.

4.3.3    A fixed-term contract is only used where there is an operational need for such a contractual arrangement in accordance with the University’s guidance on the use of fixed term contracts.

4.4    Casual Workers

4.4.1    Where the work available does not meet the broad criteria set out in Section 4.3.1, the University will typically engage the individual either on a Worker (sometimes known as “casual”) contract or on a Self-Employed basis, whichever is most appropriate. 

4.4.2    The University will only offer work on an hourly-paid casual worker basis where the level and regularity of work is insufficient to justify an employment contract. Workers will be engaged under the Standard Terms and Conditions for Temporary Work.  For the avoidance of doubt, engagement on this basis does not amount to employment and individuals are not engaged on contracts of employment, but do qualify for certain legal rights afforded to employees.   

4.4.3    When it is not possible to predict exactly how many hours of work will be available over a given period, the University will provide as much notice as possible of hours to be worked.

4.4.4    To identify the most appropriate contractual arrangement, institutions should refer to the accompanying Workforce Policy Guidelines.  Should the status of an individual be unclear, please contact the HR Schools Team for further advice.

5. Monitoring Contractual Practices

5.1    To ensure that University employment practices are in line with the principles outlined in this policy, monitoring and reporting processes will be maintained.

5.2    Further information on monitoring contractual practices can be found in the Workforce Policy Guidelines.  

5.3    The collection, processing, storage and retention of all information will be in line with current data protection laws and the University’s record management guidance.

7. Review

The policy will be reviewed 12 months after the implementation date and every 4 years thereafter.


Version Summary of Amendment Date
V1.0 Launch of Policy 1 October 2022