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UCU: UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION

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Part-Time Staff

There are essentially two types of part time staff at UCL. One group are part time employees who are given fractional contracts of employment. Their hours, holidays and other accumulated rights are pro-rata to that of a full time employee and their contracts are managed in exactly the same way.

The second group of part time staff are 'as and when' staff who are paid according to the number of hours that they work. These are treated by UCL as 'workers' rather than employees. As a result they are not entitled to redundancy payments, have been excluded from red-circling in the Pay Framework and have had less rights in a number of other ways. They are not paid through the same procedures as staff on fractional contracts and mistakes can occur (such as neglecting to pay for holiday entitlements). It is therefore extremely important that all hourly paid staff are aware of their rights.

Since these contracts are less favourable they should only be used in exceptional cases, for genuinely infrequent and irregular duties, literally, 'As and When' required. There are issues of comparability of rights with other staff. They should not be used for regular ongoing work directly comparable to duties carried out by an employee.

Compared to other universities, UCL does not have a very large number of hourly paid staff in proportion to its 8,500 employees. However 'as and when' staff exist across all categories of staff, from occasional clerical workers to hourly paid lecturers.

In many cases, there are grounds for arguing that hourly paid staff should not be on these contracts and should be treated as employees. But even if they are on 'as and when' contracts, they have rights too.

This page is about those rights.

What the Law says

Ever since the year 2000, the law states that part time workers were entitled to pro-rata pay and no less favourable treatment in terms of their contract when compared with full time employees.

The Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 state, simply, that all part time staff are entitled to be paid at a rate equal to or greater than the rate per hour for a full time employee.

Pro-rata means paying a worker proportionately to an employee doing the same duties, i.e.

  • at an equivalent hourly rate;
  • with all necessary duties covered by payment, and
  • the right to progress up the pay scale.

No less favourable treatment applies to all aspects of the contract, and non-contractual rights, with one important exception (redundancy protection for workers who are not classified as employees).

It covers, for instance:

  • parity of esteem and full involvement in the life of the department, and
  • the same access to necessary training in order to carry out the duties.

It may also apply to other questions such as access to continuous professional development (e.g. UCL courses related to career development).

A separate law says that Fixed Term employees also have additional protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

" I wish to challenge my grading. I've been told I'm a Teaching Assistant, but it seems to me that I am doing very similar things to staff in another department who are Teaching Fellows. How can this be fair?

It may not be. 'As and when' staff must have a right (as any other staff do) to challenge their grading. In the first instance you should contact UCU to discuss your case.


" I'm not sure whether I am entitled to holiday pay. What is it, and how can I claim it?

All staff are entitled to paid holiday, including 'as and when' staff.

Following the Pay Framework implementation date of 1 May 2006, full time UCL employees have 27 days holiday, do not attend work on the 14 college closure days (or weekends) and have a 36.5 hour week. They are therefore required to work 1604 hours annually for UCL.

The pro-rata principle means that hourly paid staff must also be given either paid holidays or an equivalent additional sum, in proportion to the hours worked.

The figures in the Salary Scales do not contain this holiday pay amount. These are exclusive of holiday pay.

There are two ways of calculating the holiday pay or hours you are entitled to:

  • (Official method) To work out holiday hours, follow the calculation on the HR website for Annual Leave for Part Time Staff. These hours are then paid at the rate on the pay scale.
  • (Quick & Easy check) To work out holiday pay, multiply the salary paid (excluding holidays) by 18.5%.

Both these calculations produce approximately the same figure.
To claim holiday pay, check your contract and pay slip, and if no holiday entitlement is accounted for, speak to your union or ask your department administrator.


" I currently work one day a week on a part-time contract. My manager wants me to take on new duties. Can she do this, and what if I cannot do them in the time I have?

You should first check to ensure that you are working your proper hours.

A member of staff who works one day a week will be required to work 36.5 / 5 = 7.3 hours per week. If they work all year round, they would be entitled to 41 / 5 = 8 days leave per year, including college closure days.

So in the situation described above, your current duties should not require you to work more than 7.3 hours per week, with 8 days off per year (so you would work 44 days in a year).The next question is whether it would be 'reasonable' for you to take on the proposed new duties. One important aspect is training. All necessary training for the new duties must be carried out in working hours - something that can often be difficult for part time staff.

  • In general if the new duties require no change in hours of attendance it would normally be reasonable to accept the new duties
  • Supposing the new duties require no change in total hours but do require a change in actual hours of attendance. Your manager and yourself can agree to rearrange your days for mutual convenience without affecting your total salary. But you are entitled to object if this is not workable for you (e.g. you work elsewhere on those days, have family carer responsibilities, are partially disabled, etc.). If you wish to object, contact us as soon as possible.
  • Finally, if your duties were to increase or decrease so that your total attendance at work would need to be changed, your salary would be affected. Since your contract would be changed you can ask for a formal meeting (with a union rep and HR staff present) as of right.

There are many different scenarios, from taking on a particular responsibility (e.g. organising a conference) for a short period of time, to increasing or decreasing hours on a permanent basis. Any change in the total number of hours worked would also affect holiday entitlement. For this reason, it is wise to contact us before agreeing any change.