Our Position on Casual Working

Andrew Dodman, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Sheffield, said:

“We know from what our staff tell us, we're already seen as an excellent place to work and provide a very attractive total reward and benefits package for all our staff, including those on fixed term contracts. We also ensure those who work with us on a more flexible/casual basis are afforded the same rates of pay as those employed directly by the University.

"As part of our ongoing support to staff, we’re working proactively with the University & College Union (UCU) and our other local trade unions to identify means of reviewing the employment status of all those who work on a casual basis to ensure our relationship suits the individual and supports the needs of the University and our students.

“We pride ourselves in being an excellent employer and will continue to review and apply fairness to all our staff - be they on open ended, fixed term contracts or engaged on a casual basis - in order to build on our reputation as one of the best employers in the sector."

Andrew Dodman
Chief Operating Officer
The University of Sheffield


Background information:

  • The University doesn’t employ staff on zero hours contracts*
  • In 2014, we agreed with our local UCU branch the introduction of a new Graduate Teaching Contract to formalise the employment relationship of our post graduate students who were previously undertaking teaching on a casual basis. We now have over 600 staff engaged on the Graduate Teaching Contract which affords them full employment status to undertake these duties where there is an ongoing commitment to do so for the duration of their studies.
  • The University was used as a case study of good practice in the New JNCHES joint working group report on casual workers last year.
  • From September 2018, the University has committed that all planned scheduled teaching activity will be covered by staff employed on fixed term or open ended contracts of employment. Please find more information here.

What is a ‘zero hours contract’?

Generally speaking, a zero hours contract is one in which the employer does not guarantee the individual any hours of work. Some employers issue zero hours contracts which are considered particularly punitive, where the individual is obliged to accept any work offered.

At Sheffield, we have a Casual Worker arrangement, and individuals may register to be part of the bank of casual workers to undertake work from time to time. There is however, no obligation on the individual to accept any work offered, and refusing work would not preclude them from being offered further engagements in the future.

What rights does a casual worker have?

You can read about the features of the agreement, including associated employment rights, here:


What are the rates of pay for a casual worker?

In order to support principles of equal pay for work of equal value, hourly rates are linked to the first point on each of the nine University of Sheffield grades. More details can be found here:


I think my employment relationship with Sheffield should be an employee not a casual worker; how do I raise this?

We advise managers that the employment relationship should be reviewed from time to time to ensure that the appropriate form of contract is in place.

If the relationship changes over time either the manager or the worker can initiate discussions to review the pattern and type of work which has and will be offered in line with the contractual relationships flowchart http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr/guidance/contracts/contractualrelationships/flowchart

You should raise any questions or concerns about your employment status with your line manager in the first instance.

If you need further advice from HR, contact the relevant faculty by emailing:

Arts and Humanities: hrfacultyaandh@sheffield.ac.uk

Engineering: hrfacultyeng@sheffield.ac.uk

Medicine, Dentistry and Health: hrfacultymdh@sheffield.ac.uk

Science: hrscience@sheffield.ac.uk

Social Sciences: hrfacultysocialsciences@sheffield.ac.uk

Professional Services : hrprofessionalservices@sheffield.ac.uk