Engaging employees

The University is committed to ensuring that all members of its workforce are engaged on the most appropriate contract and that this engagement is completed in a transparent and fair way.

The University engages employees on 3 types of employment contracts:

  • Open-ended
  • Fixed-term (FTC)
  • Sheffield Graduate Training Contract (SGTC) - Please refer to the SGTC webpages for further details.

Before engaging an individual to undertake work within the University, please use the payment decision tree.  This tool has been develop to support you to determine the appropriate contract of employment and method of payment for services delivered to the University by an individual, or individuals, acting in their own right or employees of an organisation or business.

Employment status

Understanding employment status

Before engaging an employee, it is important to understand their employment status.

For a employee relationship to exist, three key elements must be present:

  • the individual must be under an obligation to perform the work personally;
  • there must be “mutuality of obligation” between the parties to provide/accept work; and
  • the employer must have sufficient rights of control over the employee.

For example:

  • the individual will be unable to send a substitute to undertake the work on their behalf;
  • the University will be obliged to offer work (as defined in the contract of employment) and the individual will be obliged to accept it;
  • the University will control what, how (means and methods), when and where the work is performed. (Control may not need to be exercised but the University would have the right to instruct the individual).

Should you have any queries about employment status, please contact your Faculty HR Team Contact.

Employment summary

Employment summary for an employee (open-ended and fixed term)

Key features

Key features of the relationship

  • a requirement for the work to be done in person (cannot be subcontracted);
  • mutuality (each party being under an obligation to the other);
  • control by the University of the way or circumstances in which the work is done , e.g. location, timing of work, the University provides the individual with resources to undertake the work, the University oversees the quality of the work, and manages the performance of the individual.

Continuity of employment (CoE) accrues during the period of the appointment. Where there is the expectation that work will be available after a short break (e.g. in semester time only contracts), then CoE generally remains unbroken.

If working part-time hours, there is potential for individuals to undertake work for another employer with agreement from their senior manager, as long as this does not interfere with their ability to undertake their contracted duties.

The individual must not normally exceed an average of 48 hours per week, as set out in the Working Time Regulations.

Roles will be fully intergrated into University life; objectives set annually with manager through SRDS process. Involved in activities to support the department in seeking to achieve its objectives.

Employment rights and statutory obligations

Principal individual rights associated with contract: Can obtain List A and B rights, plus List C rights after the appropriate qualifying periods. See Employment rights summary.

University statutory obligations

Immigration & Preventing Illegal Working: The offence of employing a person subject to immigration control (Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006) applies. Civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal employee, and knowingly employing someone illegally is a criminal offence with a potential prison sentence or unlimited fine.

Pre-placement Checks: Health checks and criminal record checks (where relevant), are processed by Human Resources with the applicant prior to confirmation of appointment.

Health & Safety: Employees are in the scope of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), and the common law provisions.

Equal Opportunities: In line with the University’s commitment to equality all employees are required to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with and follow the Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice for Staff.

Authorisation of engagement

Recruitment process: See Recruitment & Selection Guidance.

Financial authorisation: Authorisation for all posts are managed within e-Recruitment, using the Job Requisition.

Responsibility for administration/record keeping: Employment contract document raised by Human Resources, pursuant with existing procedures. Human Resources input details / maintain employee records on uBASE.  Ongoing record keeping responsibilities with Human Resources, the department, and the individual as per existing policies and procedures.

Work allocation

Work allocation: As defined by the Head of Department or nominee.

Pay arrangements

Pay and grading: See Pay and grading.

Job grading: Determined by job size using University of Sheffield Grading Scheme guidelines and agreed policies.

Salary: Annual salary, pro-rated where appropriate.

Salary increases: Cost of living increases will apply, and when not at the top of the normal scale range, incremental progression.
Payment process

Payment process: Monthly, paid through BACS via staff uBASE.  An online payslip is accessible via myJob (unless request for paper version is approved).

Tax treatment: Income tax and National Insurance deducted at source.

Other benefits

Staff benefits: See The Deal

UCard Allocation: Staff UCard

Induction: Full University/Departmental Induction should apply. See Staff Induction Portal.

Development and training: As identified through the annual Staff Review and Development (SRDS) process.

Type of contract

Open-ended employment contract

The normal form of employment within the University will be through the provision of an open-ended contract, used to employ an individual to undertake work anticipated as being required for an indefinite period of time.  Individuals would be engaged to undertake any type of specified work function as defined by the University of Sheffield. 

Fixed-term employment contract

An individual works full time or part-time hours undertaking work anticipated as being required for a period of time with a fixed start and end date.

The University is committed to meeting its legal responsibilities to those staff who do not have an open ended contract, and are instead employed through fixed-term contracts (FTC). The University will ensure that fixed-term contracts are only used where appropriate to business case and where there is a legitimate reason to do so.  The appointment of staff onto a FTC must therefore be objectively justified one or more of the six criteria outlined in the Guiding principles for FTC.

It should also be noted that a series of fixed-term contracts is automatically converted by law into an open ended contract once the employee has completed 4 years continuous service, unless an exception applies. Please refer to the Guidance on University Fixed-Term Contracts for more information.

Engaging employees

Engaging employees

Before making a new engagement

When a vacancy first arises, whether it is due to a colleague leaving, or is the creation a new role, it is important to evaluate the role in term of your business needs. Take this opportunity to review the proposed job in the context of the departmental structure and long term strategic plan.

Consideration should be given to the purpose and content of the role as well as what format it should be delivered in, be this full/part time, fixed term/open ended.

Investing time and effort into a thorough review at the beginning of the process will mean that the job description and person specification that you create will fully meet your business needs and increase the quality of the recruitment process.

Further guidance on considerations to make before making a new engagement are available.

Recruitment process

All employee engagements will be made through the E-recruitment process.