FAQs - Contract and other employment - Updated

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 your allocated work.

The total number of hours you have been allocated for work and training is specified in the PTA Assignment Schedule (HAT form). Your contract will not specify these hours, however it does confirm that you will be paid for a minimum of 10 hours by the end of the contract. This means that regardless of how many hours you work during the contracting period, you will not be paid for less than 10 hours.

At the end of your contract period, HR will review your hours. If you have worked less than 10 hours, you will be entitled to an additional payment to ensure you have been paid for at least 10 hours. We will make this additional payment to you in the month that your contract ends.

For example, if you are scheduled to work 20 hours for the period of the contract, and you work and are paid for 30 hours – you will have worked for more than your guaranteed 10 hours and there are no changes to your payments. But if you are scheduled to work 20 hours for the period of the contract, and you work and are paid for 6 hours – you will have worked for less than your guaranteed 10 hours. This means that you will be automatically paid the difference of 4 hours at the end of your contract.

In addition, you will also be paid for any annual leave that you have not taken at the end of your contract.

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

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

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants are paid by recording and claiming for the hours they work via iTrent, the University’s payroll and Employee Self-Service system. Once these claims have been approved by a manager they will be paid in the next available monthly payroll.

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

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

Students who are undertaking the PTA role for the first time will be entitled to additional hours for their induction and mandatory training. These hours will be confirmed on the assignment schedule.

All students will be entitled to additional hours for their performance development review (PDR), and these hours will also be confirmed on the assignment schedule.

Students should follow the same process for recording their working hours, and claim for these agreed training hours via iTrent, the University’s payroll and Employee Self-Service system. Once these claims have been approved by a manager they will be paid in the next available monthly payroll.

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

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

If you are asked to work additional hours in your role as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant that are regular or pre-scheduled, you will be able to submit a claim for these along with your other hours via iTrent once they have been completed. It will not be necessary to amend and reissue your employment contract as it does not specify the total number of hours you are scheduled to work.

Students are permitted to undertake other, non-PTA work at the University (e.g. exam invigilation, research assistant, supporting WP and outreach activities).  Additional hours for non-PTA work can be claimed using the PTA103 Additional Hours form.

Please ensure that any work and additional work you undertake falls below 6 hours a week as well as meeting any visa restrictions. There are legal restrictions on the number of hours students on Tier 4 visas can undertake paid or unpaid work. For this reason, Tier 4 students should never be scheduled to work more than the weekly limit specified in their visa - this includes voluntary work and work undertaken for another employer.

The starting salary will be at the full-time equivalent rate of £27,511 per annum (point 23) on Grade E, points 23 to 31. This is the same rate of pay used for Associate Lecturers at the University. Subject to satisfactory performance, and subject to a minimum of six months’ service in the grade, increments are payable on 1 August each year until the top normal progression point of the grade is reached (point 27). Progression into and through the contribution points (points 28-31) is subject to performance in the role. For further information please see the University Salary scales.

The casual teaching rate is also Point 23 Grade E of the University pay scale which is £27,511 per annum or £14.49 per hour, plus holiday pay of £2.71 per hour.

 

The University is extending the pilot of the PTA contracting arrangements, and therefore employment contracts will continue to be for a fixed-term of up to 12 months. This arrangement recognises that PTA teaching requirements vary from year to year based on student choice and student numbers, so it is only possible for the University to commit for the academic year.

Yes, as for example Student Community Wardens, although students 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.

Students are permitted to undertake other, non-PTA work at the University (e.g. exam invigilation, research assistant, supporting WP and outreach activities).  Additional hours for non-PTA work can be claimed using the PTA103 Additional Hours form.

Please ensure that any additional work you undertake falls below 6 hours a week as well as meeting any visa restrictions. Individuals who hold a Tier 4 visa would continue to need to ensure they comply with the working restrictions prescribed in their visas.

You must notify your academic manager or other contact for sickness in the College, they will make arrangements to provide cover where necessary and will notify People Services. You may be eligible to University sick pay.

The work undertaken by postgraduate students is primarily related to teaching activities and this aligns to the Education and Scholarship job family.

‌Yes, subject to satisfactory performance, and subject to a minimum of six months’ service in the grade, Salary scales‌ on 1 August each year until the top of the grade is reached ie scp 27.

If you complete your PhD during the academic year, you can only continue to do any planned contracted work as a PTA until the end of the academic year (subject to Tier 4 expiry).

In the event that a student withdraws from their PhD studies and ceases to be registered as a student with the University, the University will usually take steps to terminate the employment. However, each case will be assessed independently by People Services, following consultation with the line manager. If appropriate, the University may apply discretion in allowing the student to continue to do any planned contracted work as a PTA until the end of the contract (subject to Tier 4 requirements).  

In the event that a student interrupts their PhD studies for a temporary period, provided that the student remains registered as a student with the University and the circumstances for the interruption are discussed with the line manager, the University will apply discretion in allowing the student to continue to do any planned contracted work as a PTA until the end of the contract (subject to Tier 4 requirements).  

Staff are automatically made members of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), and pension contributions are deducted from your salary.

If you wish to opt out of USS then you will need to go to the USS web site member pages and complete an opt out form: https://www.uss.co.uk/members/members-home/resources/forms

Once completed please return the form to payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk. If you opt out before you complete three months membership any deductions that may have been taken from you will be refunded in your pay the following month after receipt of the form.

By opting out of the pension scheme you are giving up all the benefits that the scheme offers, this includes the life assurance benefits and the University contribution of 18%.

As long as HR have been provided with all of the information necessary to confirm your employment (including a copy of your right to work in the UK documents) you will be paid, even if you have not yet signed your contract.

If there is no break in your employment, your continuous service from when you were issued the contract will apply in your new role.  However, you cannot continue to be employed as a PTA. 

University salaries are paid on the penultimate working day of the month.

Provided your claim is submitted and approved by the monthly Payment Claim Form cut-off date, the payment will be made at the end of that month. Further information on payroll deadlines and pay dates can be found here: Payroll deadlines

Please note that we must have received your right to work documentation and new joiner details in order to pay you. 

You will accrue approximately 0.18 hours of annual leave for every hour you work under this contract. To view the balance of your accrued entitlement to annual leave, or to book annual leave, please log in to the iTrent Employee Self-Service system. Leave may not be taken during term-time. You need to ensure that you take your leave each year and outside peak times in the area where you normally work.

At the end of your contract period the University will review your accrued annual leave, and will pay you for any holiday that you have not taken. The University will make this payment to you in the month that your contract ends.