Contract Types

The University of Glasgow is committed to engaging all members of its workforce on the most appropriate contract and to doing this in a fair and transparent way. Full details may be found in the Extended Workforce Policy and related Guidance. 

The University utilises a range of contractual arrangements, reflecting the fact that levels of work are variable and sometimes unpredictable. The following sections outline the various contract types and the circumstances in which they are typically used.

The University works on the principle that where there is a sufficiently meaningful and predictable level of regular work over a given period the University will typically offer an employment contract which may be fixed term or permanent/open ended, full or part-time and will provide as much security of employment as possible.

Open Ended Employment Contracts

The University is committed to offering Open-ended contracts when appropriate. For the vast majority of long-term roles this will be the contractual norm.

Such a contract is for an indefinite period with no specified end date. Where there is a reasonable expectation that a role will be ongoing, this will be the standard approach to employment.

Open Ended Employment Contracts with a Funding End Date

Where a particular role is dependent on fixed term funding or is linked to a project with a clear anticipated end date it is recognised that it is beneficial for this to be transparent to all parties.

Certainly where the work is for a period of less than 1 year and there is a clear objective justification for the short-term nature of the position offering the position on a Fixed Term contract may be the most appropriate route. However the University is committed to offering open ended contracts where there is a reasonable belief that the role will be ongoing. The University will clearly signal the potential for the employment to be terminated if and when the funding or project work comes to an end. In such circumstances the University will consult with the individual and act to support them in seeking redeployment. Information is also shared with the recognised trade unions to facilitate collective consultation.

The use of such open-ended contracts is designed to continue the University’s aim that open-ended contracts continue to be the contractual norm rather than successive or extended fixed term contracts

The terms and conditions and rights of someone on such a contract are exactly the same as anyone on a standard open-ended contract.

Fixed Term Contracts

The University of Glasgow will use Fixed Term employment contracts where the business requirement for the role can clearly be demonstrated to be uncertain or finite.

Hence they typically will be used:

  • to provide temporary cover for situations such as maternity or parental leave and long-term absence or for one-off projects; or
  • where there is a genuine lack of clarity on whether a particular activity will be of an ongoing nature.

Fixed Term contracts may also be offered to post-graduate students who are engaged in roles such as Graduate Teaching Assistants or Demonstrators when the level of predicted activity and mutual commitment merits engagement as an employee rather than as a worker, however any such contracts would normally cease upon completion of their studies at the University.

As with open-ended contracts, Fixed Term contracts may be offered in a variety of arrangements including full-time, part-time, term-time or an average or minimum hours basis.

Where there is no fixed working pattern, the University will aim to provide as much clarity as possible regarding the amount of work available and including a specified number of hours.

It is University of Glasgow policy that staff on Fixed Term Contracts do not receive any less favourable treatment and as such, conditions of employment for this group operate in accordance with those for staff on open-ended contracts with the same contractual entitlements (e.g. holidays) allocated on a pro rata basis related to actual contractual period and hours. For staff on contracts with no fixed working pattern, holidays will be accrued based on actual hours worked and will typically be scheduled (and hence paid) on a quarterly basis or at the end of a term in consultation between the employee and their line manager.

Where it is not possible to take all holidays accrued during a fixed term contract these will be paid in lieu at the end of the contract.

Prior to the end of a fixed term contract staff will be written to and supported in seeking alternative employment within the University following the same consultation process as those on open ended contracts with a funding end date. Staff with over a year’s service at the point their contract is due to end and who joined via a competitive selection process will have access to the University’s redeployment register, which is used for all MPA, Technical and Specialist and Operational roles.

The University has a number of legacy zero hours employment contracts but where possible these are being amended via consultation to include guaranteed hours, even if specific patterns of work are not known. The use of Zero Hours employment contracts would not typically align with the University’s principles set out in the Extended Workforce Policy so no future employment would be offered on this basis without the formal approval of the Head of HR and Head of College/University Services.

Casual Worker Arrangements

The University will normally only offer work on an hourly paid casual worker basis where the level of work is insufficient to justify an employment contract. The University has full discretion whether to offer any work to the individual and individuals can equally choose whether or not to undertake the work offered. In legislation terms there is no mutuality of obligation and workers are not legally defined as ‘employees’ and are not employed by the University on standard University conditions of employment or otherwise although they do qualify for certain legal rights. Workers have restricted access to corporate IT systems allowing web access to the HR Payroll system.

Payment for hours worked is determined by the nature of the work undertaken for which an appropriate hourly rate is paid. This hourly rate is calculated in accordance with the University’s pay and grading structure and should be based on a standard, graded job description.

Payment for hours worked are processed in accordance with monthly timesheets and appropriately authorised by the relevant line managers within the School/RI/Service. An additional payment in lieu of statutory holiday entitlement will automatically be paid and will appear as a separate figure on pay-slips for hours processed. This additional payment in respect of holiday pay is calculated as 12.0319% of the individual's normal hourly rate. Holiday entitlement will be calculated based on hours worked and will be pro-rated on the basis of a full time workers statutory holiday entitlement (currently 28 days). For the avoidance of doubt, such workers have no additional entitlement in respect of public holidays.

Such worker status is not intended to cover students on scholarships which include some developmental work experience, and who are not regarded as employees. Scholarship arrangements are covered by separate College specific guidance.

There are procedural arrangements for the use of casual workers set out within the Extended Workforce Policy.