Contractual relationships at the University of Sheffield

The University needs to ensure that it applies appropriate rules of engagement for anyone undertaking work on the University's behalf. This is not only to provide a fair and equitable framework for all its workers as a responsible employer, but also to comply with legal and other obligations, whilst at the same time maintaining sufficient flexibility to enable the delivery of individual, departmental/faculty and corporate needs.

In its broadest sense, all individuals that undertake work activity for the University of Sheffield should belong to one of the following employment status groups:

  • Open-Ended employee
  • Fixed-Term employee
  • Worker, e.g. with a ‘Registration Agreement for Casual Work’
  • Self Employed / Agreement for Service(s)
  • Agency Worker


All University employees, workers, agency workers and contractors.

Key Principles:

1. The type of contract or agreement offered will depend upon the details of the individual employment relationship and the subsequent effect that this has in legislative terms.

2. The University's aim is wherever possible, to reduce the number of fixed-term contracts and casual worker agreements and limit their use in the future. For this reason an open-ended employee contract should in the first instance be considered as to its appropriateness for all new University engagements.

3. 'Casual' engagements are not a 'quick fix' for avoiding the recruitment and employment of University of Sheffield employees, and other types of engagement should only be used under appropriate circumstances; please see the Determining the appropriate employment contract for more information.

4. All individuals who are part of the University community will be treated with dignity and respect, irrespective of any of the ‘Protected Characteristics’ as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and the contract type they may be engaged on.

How the University supports this:

To support Departmental Heads and Managers in making appropriate decisions on the employment status of any individual undertaking work within their department, and the appropriate management of individuals thereafter, please visit Determining the appropriate employment contract.

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Last Update: 6/19