PTA Guidance for Managers

Postgraduate students who are engaged for regular/pre-scheduled work will from 24th September 2018 be employed on annualised contracts of employment under the Education and Scholarship terms and conditions of employment. These changes form part of an ongoing review of our contracting arrangements for workers, and importantly ensures equity of treatment with other colleagues on similar working patterns.

The University will be piloting the arrangements for one-year (24th September 2018 to 23rd September 2019), to enable all parties time to fully evaluate the arrangements, and therefore initially contracts will be for a fixed-term of one year. 

A summary of these changes has been communicated to managers, including the revised process for contracting Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.

Further information and frequently asked questions for Managers engaging postgraduate students as Postgraduate Teaching Assistants can be found below.

If you have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts who are available to provide advice relating to these changes.

‌An effective and professional recruitment and selection process is vital to the University in order to recruit quality PTAs.

The following guidelines are for all staff recruiting to PTA roles:

  1. Circulate details of the PTA opportunities to all eligible postgraduate students so that there is open competition;
  2. The PTA Generic job description‌ should be circulated along with any key information about the work to be undertaken.  All selection decisions should be made using the "skills and competencies" section;
  3. Record your decisions/reasons for not appointing applicants, see the equality and diversity guidelines for panel members;
  4. Consider involving more than one person in selection decisions to minimise accusations of bias and to be seen to be fair – ideally both men and women, see the equality and diversity guidelines for panel members;
  5. Be sure that those involved in the selection decisions have, at minimum, completed the mandatory Recruitment and Selection course via LearnUpon;
  6. Give feedback to unsuccessful applicants if requested.

Frequently asked questions for Managers engaging postgraduate students as Postgraduate Teaching Assistants can be found above. 

If you have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts who are available to provide advice relating to these changes.

A flowchart setting out the processes for contracting PTA’s for regular/pre-scheduled work can be found here PTA Process .  Further details are set out below:

  • Students will continue to be engaged in accordance with the “Employment of Postgraduate Students: Code of Good Practice” by Colleges, having consideration to the limitation of not exceeding the average of 6 hours per week/180 per year for a full-time student and/or any Tier 4 visa restrictions. 
  • Colleges will continue to be responsible for engaging and agreeing hours with postgraduate students using the updated Hours Allocation Form (HAT1) where work is regular/pre-scheduled . A copy of this form must be forwarded to People Services (humanresources@exeter.ac.uk)to enable a contract to be issued. In the event students have received previous notifications either informally or formally regarding work in 2018/19, a copy of the original HAT form (where issued) can be submitted to People Services together with a completed HAT Supplementary Form (HAT2 Supplementary form as the additional information is required by People Services in order to be able to issue the contract of employment. Where no HAT form has been issued, the HAT1 form must be completed and submitted to People Services.
  • Colleges will continue to undertake Right to Work checks before employment commences and forward evidence to humanresources@exeter.ac.uk
  • People Services will issue postgraduate students who are undertaking regular/pre-scheduled work with contracts of employment and new starter forms once the HAT1 form and Right to Work evidence has been forwarded by the College.  All forms and RTW checks must be completed by no later than Friday 29th September 2018, or no later than the first day of planned work.
  • Once the contract has been issued, any additional ad hoc hours will need to be recorded and approved by means of an Additional Hours Form (HAT3 - PTA additional hours) and forwarded to payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk for payment. In the event of further regular/pre-planned work during 2018/19, the HAT Change Form (HAT4 - Change form) should be used.   As other employees, it will not be possible for postgraduate students who are contracted on annualised contracts to undertake other roles with the University without the prior permission of People Services.  
  • Where students are not engaged to do regular/pre-scheduled work, but there is the need for work to be undertaken on an ad hoc basis, this will continue to be managed via the eclaims/casual arrangements.
  • Any queries about the hours should be referred to the relevant academic manager.   Any queries about contractual documentation or pay should be referred to People Services.

Frequently asked questions for managers can be found above. 

If you do have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts who are available to provide advice relating to these changes.

Working Hours

The University has agreed limits on the hours which its students should work for the University in order to protect their learning and education. (See section 6 of Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Postgraduate Students and the Good Practice Guidelines for Undergraduate Students undertaking paid employment during term-time.)

The total working hours for full time students is 180 per year and below 6 hours per week, students with visas may also have other restrictions. 

For part-time students see the maximum hours permitted per year in the table below:

PTA student FTE:

1

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

Study hours per week

37.5

33.75

30

26.25

22.5

18.75

Study hours per year

1650

1485

1320

1155

990

825

Maximum work hours permitted per year

180

345

510

675

840

1005

Study hours and work hours combined

1830

1830

1830

1830

1830

1830

Additionally, for students outside the European Economic Area, the government has set a limit of 20 hours of employment per week for students during term-time: this applies to all work undertaken by the student, not just their employment with the University. For further information on employment of non-UK/EEA students please see the Right to work guidance.

Tier 4 visa students/employees - please be aware that these visas carry legal restrictions on the number of hours paid or unpaid work can be undertaken.  This is a maximum of 10 or 20 hours per week (depending on the visa) and cannot be averaged over a longer period.  Please ensure students are not requested to work more than their weekly working limit (this includes additional ad hoc hours, voluntary work and/or any work undertaken for another discipline/College or employer).

Payment arrangements

To comply with tax and employment regulations, it is essential that payment for work (remuneration) is separated from scholarship/bursary payments for maintenance and other learning expenses.

Remuneration must be paid through the payroll system; any bursary/scholarship will continue to be paid through Student Finance (using established procedures).

Where Colleges choose to bundle a bursary/scholarship and remuneration together for marketing purposes, it is essential that documentation issued to the student explains that part of the award represents remuneration for work undertaken as a condition of their award (which will be paid via the Payroll) and that part is a bursary/scholarship (which will be paid via Student Finance). The two elements should be separately identified in College accounts.

The University has been advised by its solicitors that employment arrangements where the student receives a waiver of fees in consideration for working for the College (i.e. they receive no direct remuneration from the University) are not permissible.

PTA’s on annualised contracts will be paid monthly at Grade E based on averaging the hours notified using the HAT1 form.  Payments will automatically include time for induction, training, probation, annual leave and PDR procedures, and additional hours should not be allocated for these. 

Once the contract has been issued, any additional ad hoc hours will need to be recorded and approved by means of an Additional Hours form (HAT3 - PTA additional hours and forwarded to payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk for payment.

In the event of further regular/pre-planned work during 2018/19, the Change Form (HAT4 - Change form should be used.   As with other employees, it will not be possible for postgraduate students who are contracted on annualised contracts to undertake other roles with the University without the prior permission of People Services.  

Frequently asked questions for Managers engaging postgraduate students as Postgraduate Teaching Assistants can be found above.

If you do have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts who are available to provide advice relating to these changes.

Monthly payroll deadlines can be found here.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Coordinators

Each discipline will have a coordinator who will coordinate teaching or other employment activities, the necessary induction, training, monitoring and support of the students and will ensure that any problems and issues are resolved promptly.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Representatives

 All Colleges shall appoint an experienced PTA as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Representative, following an open process, including inviting nominations from experienced PTAs. The PTA Representative shall coordinate any concerns arising from PTAs in that discipline and may support the PTA Coordinator in mentoring less experienced PTAs. The duties of PTA Representatives will be specified on the HAT form (HAT1).

If you do have further queries that cannot be clarified through the above links, please refer to the following contacts who are available to provide advice relating to these changes.