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PTA Guidance for Managers

Engaging a PTA FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions - engaging a PTA

A flowchart setting out the contracting arrangements can be found here: PTA Contracting Process, and below is a summary of the key stages:

Pre-Employment

The PTA Co-ordinator, or the person responsible for allocating and/or supporting PTA work, should complete the PTA Assignment Spreadsheet 2021-2022 (guidance notes here: PTA Assignment Spreadsheet Guidance) recording the hours allocated to a student for teaching, assessment, preparation and training. The spreadsheet should be shared with the college administration team (details below). 

CEMPS James Smith
CLES Susan McGowan
CMH  
HUMS Emily Morris
SSIS Rebecca Barr
UEBS Tom Crowford

 

For each module a student is engaged to work on the student will be provided with a Assignment Schedule 2021-2022 . This record provides a full description of the expected hours of work and training.

All students must provide evidence of their Right To Work documents before they can commence employment. If you are meeting with your student before they start work, then please ask for these documents so that you can check them and send certified copies to HR, it will help to speed up the appointment process. HR will conduct checks for any student that has not been able to verify their right to work with you. Please note that further checks may be required for students that hold a Tier 4 visa.

To be eligible for a PTA position the student must be resgitered as a student at the University of Exeter and should not have completed their studies at their start date (if a student completes their studies part way through the contract then they can still work to the end of that contract but will not be eligible for a new one the following year).

Contract and Pay

The HR team will prepare and send an electronic copy of the contract of employment to the student. The contract provides important details about employment at the University, including information relating to terms and conditions, salary and deductions, hours of work and pension arrangements.

Any changes to the number of hours worked should be discussed and agreed by the PTA Co-ordinator (or appropriate manager) and the student. Additional hours that are allocated during the contract period should be recorded on the PTA Assignment Spreadsheet 2021-2022 the student should be sent an updated PTA Assignment Schedule , if the additional hours are a change to hours already allocated the change will be confirmed to the student via email - it will not be necessary to reissue the employment contract. 

The starting salary will be at the full time equivalent rate of £27,924 per annum, this equates to Grade E Point 23 on the University pay scale. This is the same rate of pay used for Associate Lecturers at the University. Students working as a PTA will be eligible for the University's salary increment. More information available here: Salary scales.

Students will be paid by submitting claims based on the hours they have worked via iTrent, the University’s payroll and Employee Self-Service system. PTA Co-ordinators or line managers will be required to approve these claims, and the payment for that work will be made in the next available monthly payroll.

Students will also receive payment for training, induction, probation and performance development meetings that have been agreed with their manager. These hours can also be claimed via the iTrent Employee Self-Service system.

Entitlement to annual leave will be accrued and based on the hours of work that have been paid. Students will be able to view and book annual leave via the Employee Self-Service system. Any annual leave that has not been taken by the end of the contract will be automatically paid.

Casual engagement

If the assignment is for ad-hoc temporary work, the work can be offered on a casual basis. In this case the PTA Co-ordinator should advise the student to complete the casual claims registration process.

If a student working on a casual basis is offered additional pre-scheduled or regular work, or work that extends their contract period over 12 or more weeks, they should be offered an employment contract. 

End of contract

If a student leaves their PTA role before the end of the contract, the PTA Co-ordinator or line manager should follow the standard University leaving process for staff.

At the end of the fixed term contract, the HR team will review the student’s accrued annual leave, and check whether they have worked the minimum guaranteed hours specified in their contract. If payment is due for either of these conditions, this will be made in the month the employment ends

More information is available here: Code of Good Practice 

If you have further queries please refer to the following contacts:

For queries relating to contracts - please contact humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

For queries relating to payroll - please contact payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk

Students undertaking work as a PTA will be employed on a guaranteed hours contract of employment.

This contract reflects that PTA working patterns can vary, and provides flexibility and security by guaranteeing a minimum number hours of work that will be paid by the end of the contract, even if those hours are not worked. It also means that contracts and payment schedules do not need to be changed whenever there is a change to their allocated work.

At the end of the contract period, HR will review the student’s hours. If they have worked less than their guaranteed hours, they will be entitled to an additional payment to ensure they have been paid for at least these hours. 

For example, if a student is scheduled to work 20 hours for the period of the contract, and they work and are paid for 30 hours – they have worked for more than their guaranteed 20 hours and there are no changes to their payments. But if they are scheduled to work 20 hours for the period of the contract, and work and are paid for 6 hours – they will have worked for less than the guaranteed 20 hours. This means that they will be automatically paid the difference of 14 hours after the end of their contract.

In addition, students will also be paid for any untaken annual leave after the end of their contract.

Here is a summary of the other key points of the employment contract:

  • Contracting period. All contracts will begin on the student’s actual start date and will run until 31 August.
  • Method of payment Students will be paid by submitting claims based on the hours they have worked via iTrent, the University’s payroll and Employee Self-Service system. For information on how to access and approve a claim via the Employee Self-Service system, please follow this guide: PTA Coordinator Guide.
  • Annual leave Students will accrue annual leave for every hour they work, and can use iTrent to view and book holiday.
  • Multiple PTA roles If students work across different disciplines for one college, their contract will cover all of this work. If they work for more than one college they will receive separate contracts for each college PTA role that they undertake.
  • Terms and conditions All other terms and conditions, and the salary rate, will be the same as for all other staff.

Postgraduate Teaching Associates are paid by recording and claiming for the hours they work and hours for training via iTrent, the University’s payroll and Employee Self-Service system.

You will be notified by email when a student has submitted a claim for approval (and you will receive automated reminders about outstanding claim requests and payroll deadline dates). Once a claim has been approved, the student will be paid in the next available monthly payroll.

For information on how to access and review a claim submitted by a student via the Employee Self-Service system, and the process that is followed to make the salary payment, please follow this guide: PTA Coordinator Guide.

If you receive notification to approve a claim but you are not the correct person to grant approval, you can either forward the claim to the correct person (by following the instructions in the PTA Coordinator Guide) or contact your college PTA Administrator or Human Resources for further advice.

PTAs can claim an additional 1 hour at the end of their contract to cover the time required to input and submit claims via iTrent.

A flowchart setting out the payment process can be found here: PTA payment process

No, Early Career Researchers are already employed full-time on contracts of employment.

If you are allocating additional hours please record the information in the usual way via the PTA Assignment Spreadsheet 2021-2022

If the student is reducing their hours please contact your college PTA Administration team or Human Resources to make them aware as soon as possible.

If the student has resigned, please follow the university's Leaving process

No, although it is expected that if the assignment is for ad-hoc temporary work this will be offered on a casual basis. 

Yes, as for example Student Community Wardens. Also, if a student undertakes PTA work across different colleges, they will receive a separate contract to cover the work they do in each college.

Managers are asked to be mindful that the employment of a full-time student should not normally exceed 6 hours per week.  Individuals who hold a Tier 4 visa would continue to need to ensure they comply with the working restrictions prescribed in their visas.

Yes, students will be able to undertake other casual assignments at the University (e.g. exam invigilation, research assistant, supporting WP and outreach activities).  Additional hours must be claimed for using the PTA103 additional hours form.

Managers are asked to be mindful that the employment of a full-time student should not normally exceed 6 hours per week.  Individuals who hold a Tier 4 visa would continue to need to ensure they comply with the working restrictions prescribed in their visas.

All employees of the university are required to participate in these processes.  

  • The induction and probation processes ensures that they have full support during their first year to undertake their role as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant;
  • The training ensures that as employees they are trained to the standard necessary for their role;
  • The PDR process provides the opportunity to review their progress and to discuss their ambitions and development needs; 
  • PTA’s must complete the probation process to enable them to continue to be employed after the initial 12 month fixed-term contract.

Colleges should confirm line management arrangements to PTAs, in some areas line management activities may be undertaken by more than one person.  

The Doctoral College advise that the line manager for teaching activity and other PTA activity should be appointed from outside the student’s supervisory team. This is to avoid conflict of interest in terms of teaching performance and employment and their academic progress.

No, the academic manager will assess suitability for the role in accordance with the “Employment of Postgraduate Students:  Code of Good Practice