Human Resources

Recruitment & probation

Casual work principles

The University’s Human Resources Strategy places staff at the heart of the Institution’s success, and commits Loughborough to being an employer of choice. To contribute to achieving this strategy, the University has adopted the following principles in respect of casual work. They are to be utilised consistently for all those working directly for the University, and are to apply to all job families.

For the purposes of these principles, ‘Casual Work’ is defined as work undertaken without guaranteed hours, or on an hourly paid basis, though some principles apply only to one of these forms. Fixed term contracts are also covered in some of these principles as we recognise that some of the issues raised affect staff working on these types of contracts too.

These Principles were drafted by the Casualisation Task and Finish Group, consisting of members of University management, UCU, Unison and Unite. They are to be subject to an annual review.

1. Open-ended contracts are to be maximized

In most cases open-ended contracts offer the best conditions and the most secure form of employment. They should thus be used wherever appropriate. Where an open-ended contract is not appropriate, the most appropriate secure form of non-permanent contract appropriate should be issued. This may, for example, mean creating a single post with fixed hours rather than covering that role through a number of people engaged on a zero-hours basis.

2. An understanding of the issues faced by casual workers is to be central to the recruiting, conditions and management of staff.

The flexibility of casual work benefits some workers at particular stages of their career or lifestyle. However, casual work can cause difficulty and stress within and beyond the workplace. Workers may feel less integrated into the workplace, have difficulty renting or obtaining a mortgage, have a fluctuating income, and struggle to plan their lives beyond the short term. It can lead to talented workers leaving the sector.

These issues are frequently compounded by race, class, nationality, gender and disability; and casual contracts can exclude workers from outside the UK.

The University and individual managers should recognise these impacts and consider them in both policy and the day-to-day management of casual workers.    

3. Hourly paid staff are to be paid for every hour worked

Hourly paid staff must not be expected to undertake any work beyond those hours for which they are to be paid. This includes preparation (e.g. planning meetings, emails, lecture attendance or reading), training (except where there is clear career development benefit) and follow-on tasks (e.g. emails, meetings). Where such tasks are essential to the performance of the role they must be factored in prior to offering paid work, and the number of hours work being offered to the worker, as well as the grade, must be made clear by the member of staff who makes first contact.

4. Workers on Fixed Term Contracts should be re-engaged where their post is repeated (where appropriate)[1]

Where an employee has been in continual service on successive fixed-term contracts for four years the principles in  Ordinance XLIII should be applied. Employees who have experienced short periods of unemployment between fixed-term contracts (e.g. 3 months between successive 9 month contracts) may be deemed to have been in continual service (e.g. where it is deemed to be a temporary cessation of work).

5. Support is available for casual staff in relation to VISA and immigration issues

Resources available to staff on open-ended contracts concerning VISA and immigration issues are available for all casual staff. Information can be found at https://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/hr/immigration/

6. Casual staff are to have access to the necessary space and equipment to undertake their role

A lack of appropriate space and equipment can hinder staff in conducting their duties effectively. It also disproportionately affects staff with disabilities or long-term illness, who may need privacy in order to rest and to carry out their work. Casual staff are thus to be offered access to the space and equipment necessary for them to safely and comfortably fulfil their roles with an appropriate level of privacy, including planning and follow-on tasks arising from their main duties. As the University transitions to hybrid home working, consideration will be given to how these arrangements can be applied to casual workers. .


[1] There are some roles, e.g. VC Research Fellows and Graduate Management Trainees where the role is for a fixed period and will never be made open-ended to allow for new cohorts to benefit from the scheme.