Frequently Asked Questions

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 determining the appropriate contract of employment 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:

     Faculty                      Contact                                                             
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Social Sciences
Professional Services