University framework for College workload models


The purpose of this framework is to:

  • ensure that, as a research-intensive institution, staff with a contractual duty to research are given time and opportunity to develop and publish their research;
  • assist the University through Colleges to address its obligations to manage the health and safety of its staff, particularly with regard to stress, well-being and work-life balance;
  • assist the University in meeting its equality and diversity obligations, particularly in regard to staff working on a part-time basis;
  • provide for parity of treatment in the allocation of work to academic staff in each College, taking account of discipline-specific characteristics;
  • provide a management tool to achieve these objectives.


Workload allocation models should:

  • cover the work of all staff in the academic job families (i.e. 'teaching and scholarship', 'research' and 'teaching and research') and, at the College’s discretion, other staff in the College who contribute to academic activity (e.g. Graduate Teaching Assistants);
  • cover all elements of workload, including teaching, research, administration, personal/professional development and (where agreed) work for external bodies;
  • provide for the workload of individual staff to be appropriately distributed over a period of time, so that imbalances in one year are rectified in subsequent years;
  • be based on a transparent methodology;
  • be developed in partnership with academic staff in the College;
  • be regularly reviewed and revised;
  • ensure consistency of treatment within the College, while allowing for differences in teaching, research and administration between academic disciplines;
  • ensure a pro-rata allocation for part-time staff.

Units of measurement

Workload models are based on a notional working year of 1650 hours, in line with Research Councils’ guidance (taking account of employees’ entitlement to annual leave, bank holidays and closure days). The University recognises that most academic staff do not have defined working hours and that this arrangement provides flexibility which benefits individual members of staff, students and the University as a whole. The use of the notional figure of 1650 hours is not intended to imply a contractual or defined working period: it is used solely to act as a guide in ensuring a fair allocation of work through College workload models.

While most Colleges will base their workload model on hours, Colleges may use others systems of points or credits or percentages provided that these can easily be converted to hours to ensure transparency and understanding.

Relationship with Time Allocation Schedules (TAS)

Workload allocation models are for the internal benefit of Colleges to achieve the purpose and characteristics summarised above. They set out a plan for future activity. By contrast, TAS is a retrospective measure of actual activity for external purposes. Separate guidance is issued by Finance Services on the completion of TAS.

Relationship with other agreements and guidance

This framework replaces the recommendations of the joint management-union Working Party on Academic Staff Workloads and Attendance, which were endorsed by the University in 1998, and incorporated into the Guidelines to College Deans in respect of Workloads of Academic Staff.

The 1998 guidance on Academic Staff Attendance remains unchanged.

Guidance on the right to paid and unpaid time off for public duties is available from Human Resources.

Publication of outcomes

Relevant information from the outcomes of the workload model, taking account of any data protection issues, should be made available to staff within the College in an appropriate form, for example through the staff intranet.

Good practice

Where a member of staff is concerned that the application of the workload model in their College results in an allocation of work which they perceive to be excessive or unfair, in the first instance they should discuss these concerns with the manager(s) in their College responsible for workload allocation. If, following these discussions, their concerns remain unresolved, the member of staff may raise these concerns informally with their College Dean. Exceptionally, where the concerns have not been resolved informally, the member of staff may follow the appropriate grievance procedure.

Mindful of the University’s commitment to deliver high quality teaching to its students and mindful of the health and wellbeing of staff, Colleges should, as far as practicable, seek to ensure that (a) teaching timetables do not require a member of staff to teach more than two consecutive fifty minute lectures or more than four hours continuously in any other form of teaching without a reasonable break; and (b) that staff are permitted a reasonable break at some time between 12pm and 2pm.