What you need to know (the small print) 

This page will cover all the key details you need to know about engaging casual workers:

Employment law/type of work

The requirements of employment law and to safeguard the University’s position as an employer, the University expects most individuals engaged to work for the University to be employed in accordance with standard employment arrangements (ie on a contract of employment approved via the eSR1 process). The casual workers payroll should only be used for engagements which are ad hoc or of very short duration (less than three months). Please see why and when to use a casual worker (add link to page above).

If you require additional short term/ad hoc administrative or clerical help please contact the Temporary Staff Bank who will be more than happy to help.

The law on employment status is complex. Generally, where there is no ‘mutuality of obligation’ – ie the organisation is not obliged to provide work, and the individual is not obliged to accept any work which is offered – then a worker will not be able to claim statutory employment rights. Where the work undertaken by an individual is genuinely ad hoc/irregular and small scale, then no mutuality of obligation is likely to arise. However, where the work is more regular/ongoing and more substantial, then it is more likely that an Employment Tribunal may treat it as an employment relationship. Similarly, if the individual is promised work over an extended period and is expected to attend work, then this is unlikely to be treated as a casual arrangement, even though this is paid on a claims basis.

It should also be noted than a number of statutory rights apply to any person who performs or undertakes work or services for an employer, whatever the nature of the relationship between them (referred to in the legislation as ‘workers’). The Working Time Regulations (which include the right to paid holidays), the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, the National Minimum Wage and anti-discrimination legislation all apply to ‘workers’, not just to ‘employees’.

Individuals will be treated as ‘workers’ (with tax and National Insurance deducted at source) unless the Director of Human Resources is satisfied that the arrangement is genuinely one of a contract for services (ie self-employed) rather than a contract of services (see engaging self-employed workers information).


The government now requires employers to enrol their workers into a pension scheme. There are various eligibility requirements; if the worker meets these they will be automatically enrolled into our workplace pension scheme for individuals on a casual basis and be notified of this. They can choose to opt out of the scheme if they want to, but if they stay in they will have their own pension which they can get when they retire. They can also choose to opt-in at any time if they meet the eligibility criteria. Further information can be found on automatic enrolment or they can contact the Pay and Benefits Office.

Colleges/Services are reminded that claims can only be submitted for hours actually worked. Knowingly providing false information is a serious disciplinary offence which may lead to dismissal. Under no circumstances should a payment be made to an individual from petty cash or any another account. It is not permissible for a member of staff to pay an individual from their own resources and seek reimbursement via an expense claim.

Expenses will only be paid if they are approved in advance, reasonable and supported by receipts and allowable under the University of Exeter's Expenses policy. Please note that the University would not normally pay expenses for any worker travelling to the University for work. All expenses will be paid in line with HMRC guidance. However, it is recognised that there may be exceptional circumstances why a College/Service would consider that travel expenses should be paid to (for example) a specialist travelling a long distance to undertake a short assignment at the University. In such circumstances, a College/Service may exercise its discretion to make such a payment, but any such payments will be taxed and National Insurance will be deducted in accordance with HMRC regulations.

Overseas Workers

If your worker is carrying out University of Exeter work whilst based overseas please ensure they let the Temporary Resourcing Team know at the point of registration. Please be aware that all workers are subject to UK tax and national insurance deductions for short term work. However, they may also be liable to pay tax and social security in the country they are working and there may be penalties for non-compliance.

Rates of pay

The University has published recommended rates of pay for Occasional Teachers, which are updated annually following national pay awards. Rates of pay for other types of work should be discussed with your Human Resources Business Partner and should normally be based on the first point of the grade which most closely matches the value of the work. To take account of workers’ rights to paid leave under the Working Time Regulations, hourly rates should include payment for pro-rata paid leave entitlement.

Terms and conditions

Work offered on a casual basis is subject to the terms and conditions for casual workers.

Right to work

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 requires the University to check the validity of the document(s) and satisfy itself that the worker is the person named in the documents they present and that the document(s) allow them to do the work in question. The worker must bring in their documents in person.

If they are a settled worker or a member of an EU/EEA member state (excluding Croatians), then producing their passport will meet the requirements. If they cannot do this or are a Croatian national please refer to the exhaustive list of documents they can produce from List A.

If they are a member of a non EEA state* then producing their passport endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the United Kingdom and is allowed to do the type of work in question is sufficient (please see below for what to copy). If they cannot do this please refer to the exhaustive list of documents they can produce from List B.

If they are a student who is a member of a non EEA state* they should produce their passport complete with visa; If the visa reads:
‘Work (and any changes) must be authorised by the Secretary of State’ or ‘Able to work as authorised by the Secretary of State’ 
they can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term-time and up to 40 hours per week during holidays.

If visa reads ‘No work’, then they must not work while they study.

For further information see our Right to Work and Immigration information.

You must check the following:

  • that any photographs contained in the documentation are consistent with the appearance of the employee
  • the consistency of dates of birth across documents and
  • that the expiry dates of any limited leave to enter or remain in the UK have not passed

If the worker presents documents which have different names, you will need to ask them for a further document (eg marriage certificate, divorce decree, deed poll document or statutory declaration) to explain the reason for this. All original documents presented should be copied, in particular the following parts:

  • All the pages which give the potential worker’s personal details. In particular the page with the photograph and the page which shows his or her signature
  • Any page containing a United Kingdom Government stamp or endorsement which allows the potential worker to do the type of work on offer

*If the worker does not have the right to settle permanently in the UK and has produced document (s) from List B, you will need to check the documents again one month before the current permission expires  until they can produce a document from List A.

Note: Photocopies should be signed (by the person checking) and dated to verify that the original documents have been seen. Failure to do so could result in a fine and the University losing its right to employ international staff.