Casual workers and casual teachers

This guidance was last updated on

7 December 2016

Casual workers

Definition and terms

Casual workers are hired on an irregular basis for a short period of time (no more than 12 weeks).  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 in the University:

  • can be paid on either the occasional (casual) payroll, or the main payroll.
  • 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).
  • should normally be engaged for no more than 12 weeks.
  • are issued a Casual letter of engagement (82kb) and not a full University contract of employment.
  • have statutory minimum entitlements regarding holiday, sickness, maternity, etc.  Holiday is therefore 28 days.
  • require a Right to Work.

Pension

Casual workers may request to join the NEST pension scheme from day 1 of their engagement (see Pensions for information).  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.

Re-engagement or long term requirements

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 from the outset.

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

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 one 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, eg Departmental Lecturer. Any other proposal must be discussed with the relevant divisional office or equivalent authority.