Casual Work Principles

The University is clear that people are 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. Please see appendix 2 for a summary of the different types of roles and workers and the relevant principles for each category. 

These Principles were drafted by the Casualisation Task and Finish Group, consisting of members of University management, UCU, Unison and Unite. They have been reviewed and updated in May 2023. 

There are different types of casual worker

It is important to recognise that different groups of people have different needs and expectations in relation to casual work. Undergraduate students who may be engaged in supporting student visits and open days will need to be treated differently to people who are engaged on a casual basis to teach for example. Similarly, post-graduate researchers, who often engage in paid work to supplement their studies have a specific set of requirements, which can be found in appendix 1. 

There are some roles, e.g. Doctoral Prize Fellowships 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.

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 and a fixed term rather than covering that role through a number of people engaged on a zero-hours basis. Please see principle 6 for further information on fixed term contracts.

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 due to their 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 institution and 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.    The devolved staffing approval process enables Deans and Directors to ensure that the correct contract is issued to individuals engaging in work at the University.

An understanding of the issues faced by the University through the use of casual workers is also central.

Use of casual workers poses issues to the University

  • Impact of reduced staff integration
  • Cost of repeatedly hiring and training
  • Loss of experience and tacit knowledge
  • Productivity impact of stress
  • Likelihood staff will be looking for more reliable work and so leave while still needed
  • Reputational damage and difficulty hiring if we are not seen as an employer of choice

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 and made explicitly clear 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.

Workers on Fixed Term contracts should be re-engaged where their post is repeated

If a fixed term contract is extended, it should be offered to the employee. There may be occasions where there is a short break in service, e.g. over the summer period, which is deemed to be a temporary cessation of work rather than a break in service. Where the work is continuing on an ongoing basis, albeit with breaks in the work being required, an annualised hours contract on a fixed term or open ended basis should be offered. 

Workers on Fixed Term Contracts should be offered open-ended contracts after four years’ continuous service

Where an employee has been in continual service on successive fixed-term contracts for four years the principles in Ordinance XLIII should be applied. The University will proactively monitor the use of fixed term contracts to ensure that they are minimised and staff are transferred to open ended contracts at the appropriate time. 

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 on the Immigration pages. 

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. The University’s hybrid working arrangements are also applicable to casual workers, where appropriate, noting that some casual roles will not be able to be carried out remotely. Casual workers who feel they are not being given adequate equipment and space should raise the issue with their Dean in the first instance.

Appendix 1

This appendix has been developed with the DR President and team

Doctoral Researchers (DRs) who are also employed as University Teachers provide high quality teaching across all Schools.  This provides undergraduate and Masters students with a rounded learning experience guided by experienced researchers, and provides the DRs with valuable teaching experience as well as a source of income.  Loughborough University will seek to maximise the experience for both learners and DRs. As such, the following principles provide a framework for fair and equitable allocation of teaching opportunities.

The following principles apply to the employment of DRs in teaching related activities:

  • Teaching opportunities provide doctoral researchers with valuable experience and are encouraged. 
  • When DRs undertake teaching opportunities, they receive a contract appropriate for the work they are undertaking. Teaching opportunities do not form a part of the Research Degree qualification, which is separate, and subject to the Terms and Conditions of Study.
  • Teaching opportunities are available across campus, but they are limited, and it is not guaranteed that all doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to teach. 
  • Students are entitled to a high-quality education and the allocation and provision of teaching must ensure that this is the case. DRs undertaking teaching will receive an appropriate induction and training to facilitate this.
  • Doctoral researchers on full time programmes are advised not to work more than 6 hours per week.  Additional limitations apply for those who are sponsored on a Student Visa who are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week. DRs should check the conditions of their visa before commencing any paid employment.
  • Teaching opportunities will be evaluated to ensure the role is paid at the correct rate using the guidance issued by HR.
  • Teaching opportunities should be made available to all doctoral researchers in the school in an open and transparent way. In inter-disciplinary areas, opportunities should be shared across schools where possible. 
  • Doctoral researchers should be made aware of how opportunities will be advertised and how teaching activities will be allocated during their induction. 
  • Where more than one doctoral researcher expresses an interest in an opportunity, consideration will be given to whether the work can be shared amongst those who have expressed an interest or whether other opportunities can be offered instead. Opportunities should be shared where possible and the second year of study is an optimum time to carry out this work. 
  • Deans should monitor doctoral researchers who are offered work opportunities to ensure that the opportunities are awarded equitably across the doctoral researcher population. Where issues are identified they should be proactively investigated and addressed. 
  • All work offered to doctoral researchers must comply with the casual work principles
  • Doctoral researchers are normally only permitted to teach at undergraduate level depending on past teaching experience. – link to policy. 

Doctoral researchers should have an introduction to teaching during their induction process to the Doctoral College and will have a local induction to the specific teaching within the school.

Appendix 2

Types of Contracts of Employment 




Relevant Principles

Open ended

Permanent contract with no end date

Most roles on campus


Fixed term

Contract which has a specified end date

Typically Research Associates


Annualised hours

Contract where the work is not constant throughout the year so there may be periods of working and periods of not working. More likely to be open ended but can be fixed term

Some school administrators responsible for teaching activities

Some Library staff

Catering and other halls staff



Contract which is funded through external funds but does not have a specified end date

Some Research Associates who have worked at the University for more than four years


Zero hours

Contract in which there is no mutuality of obligation meaning the University is under no obligation to offer work and the individual is under no obligation to accept any work offered

Student Ambassadors

Relief staff (e.g. sports or catering) 


1 - 9

Hourly paid

Casual, short term contract with a fixed set of hours

University Teachers

1 - 9

Types of Casual Workers 

Type of worker


Relevant Principles

UG or PGT student

Student Ambassador

Relief staff (e.g. sports or catering)

1 - 9

Doctoral researcher

Lab demonstrating

Seminar and tutorial support

Some marking and assessment, e.g. lab reports

1 - 9


University Teachers

Relief staff (e.g. sports or catering) 

1 - 9


Workers on capital projects