Guidance Notes for Engaging and Paying Casual Workers

The information and guidelines which follow are to assist Schools/Departments in operating the procedures for the appointment of Casual Workers and the associated payment procedures. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure that they are as comprehensive as possible, situations may arise which are not covered. In these circumstances, please contact your HR Advisor. 

If you are unsure of how to carry out a 'right to work' check or need more information on the documents needed, please contact HR on ext. 4584 before submitting your form.   Incomplete CWB forms or forms without an accompanying CWA form (authorisation for the appointment) will be returned to the Schools/Department.

Please read the Guidelines carefully and/or download a copy using the link below.


CWA  Authorisation for the Engagement of a Casual Worker 
Guidance Notes for completing CWA
CWB  Notification of the Engagement of a Casual Worker
Guidance Notes for completing CWB

P45 Request for P45 PDF DOC 

If you do not have a P45 you should complete a Starter Checklist and attach it to your CWB    


Vidcasts on the Nature of Employment:

Nature of Employment - Introduction
Nature of Employment - Accruing Employment Rights
Nature of Employment - Why Does This Matter ?


The information and guidelines which follow are to assist Schools/Departments in operating the procedures for the appointment of casual workers, which includes hourly paid lecturers and postgraduate demonstrators, and the associated payment procedures. If you have any queries, please contact your HR Business Partner.

2.Authorisation for Engagement of Casual Workers

Authorisation for engagement of casual workers is done using Form CWA. The form should be completed by the recruiting manager or other appropriate person, and signed by the budget holder or other authorised signatory and the management accountant.  No casual worker should be engaged without this authorisation. 


It is the responsibility of Executive Deans/Heads of Department to ensure that the individuals who are appointed as casual workers are suitably qualified for the duties involved.

For Casual Workers, no “mutuality of obligation” should be established in relation to the work they are asked to do (no mutuality of obligation exists if, after the initial offer, the University is not obliged to offer further work and the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered).  This will ensure that no employment relationship exists between the University and the worker.  However, where a worker regularly works for the University on new or “rolling contracts”, an employment relationship can become established. No appointment letters should be issued without prior consultation with Human Resources. 

The CWB form (Engagement of Casual Workers) is completed to notify HR of the engagement of a casual worker. Please see the relevant Guidance Notes on how to complete this form.  

Full-time casual workers
The maximum period of engagement of a full-time casual worker is 12 weeks. If it is anticipated that the engagement will be longer from the outset, or if there is a decision to extend beyond 12 weeks, then the post must go through the standard recruitment authorisation process and the post must be advertised. Please discuss this, and the potential for an alternative type of contract, with your HR Business Partner. 

Part-time casual workers
Where casual workers are engaged for part-time hours, the maximum possible period of engagement is the period of time it would take them to have worked the equivalent of 12 weeks full time work (i.e. 438 hours), or 12 months, whichever is the shorter. Please see the notes for completion of Form CWB (Engagement of Casual Workers) to see how to calculate this for part-time workers.  In practice, the actual period required for the work to be done may be much shorter than the maximum period allowed, and the shortest realistic period for the engagement should always be selected.  

No casual worker, whether full time or part-time can work for more than 12 consecutive weeks. So, even when the period of engagement for a part-time worker is in excess of this, there must always be a break, of at least 7 days in which they do no work and no payment is made, at least every twelve weeks. See the notes accompanying Form CWB for examples.  

4.Right to Work checks

These MUST take place before any work is undertaken as it is now not only a civil offence to knowingly employ a person aged 16 or over who has no permission to work in the United Kingdom, or who works in breach of their conditions of stay in the United Kingdom, but it is also a criminal offence and any breaches could jeopardise our Tier 2, 4 and 5 licences.

Please note: We will not be able to pay anyone where we have not completed a Right to Work check BEFORE they start work.  This is not only so that we adhere to these UKVI requirements, but also because of the Real Time Information data that now has to be returned to HMRC, and because of the pension auto-enrolment requirements 

In order to avoid liability with UKVI, we need to be able to demonstrate that for all casual workers certain prescribed documents were checked and copies retained, before the employee commenced work.  Casual workers with only limited leave to remain will have their ‘right to work’ documents rechecked periodically.
Due to the University’s need to demonstrate that it complies with immigration legislation, ‘right to work’ checks will usually be carried out by staff in Human Resources.  If the ‘right to work’ check is carried out by the local contact within the School/Department please refer to the ‘‘right to work’ checking Flowchart’ (Appendix 1) and Appendix 2 for details of the documents required.  In the event of any problems in this respect, HR staff will liaise with both the School/Department and the casual worker.

In the interests of efficiency, where Schools/Departments are planning events for which they intend to engage a large number of casual workers, Human Resources would appreciate advance notice of large numbers of forms arriving in the HR office for processing. 

5.Tier 4 student visas – limitation on hours of work 

Under the UK immigration rules, students holding Tier 4 visas are legally permitted to work, but there are restrictions on the hours that can be worked. These restrictions are different for undergraduate, taught postgraduate and postgraduate research students. It is the joint responsibility of both the recruiting manager and the student to ensure that the limitation on working hours is adhered to. Both students and managers should read the Guidance Note for Working Hours Permitted for Tier 4 visa holders
Form CWB has a specific section relating to casual workers with Tier 4 visas, and this MUST be signed by both manager and student.

6.Pay Rates

Casual Workers are engaged on an occasional or casual basis and are not regularly employed by the university, (including specialist/guest lecturers and various ad-hoc work as required). They are paid an hourly rate and are only paid for the hours actually worked. The hourly rate includes an entitlement to paid holiday (see below).

It is for the Executive Dean/Head of Department to approve the appropriate hourly rate of pay for any individual but this should reflect the rate that would be paid to a permanent member of staff who was engaged to undertake the same range of duties. For teaching staff, the grade should be derived by matching the duties required against the generic role descriptions at Appendix 8.  For other staff groups, or if these do not provide a reasonable match for the duties to be undertaken, please contact your HR Business Partner for advice. There are some indicative rates of pay for postgraduate research students who are involved in teaching on the HR website. Once the grade has been established, the hourly rate should be taken from the spine points to be found on the Casual Rates of Pay scale, and in any case care should be taken to ensure that rates of pay are not below the National Minimum Wage. Details can be found in Appendix 3.

7.Employed v Self-Employed Status

It is important that Schools/Departments seek advice from Human Resources before entering into commitments with any individual who wishes to be treated as self-employed and submit invoices.  For further information please see Appendix 4 – Income Tax Status; whether an individual should be treated as an employee or as self-employed is complex, and it is difficult to provide a precise or exhaustive set of guidelines. In the event of any doubt Human Resources will determine whether a particular job should be treated as employment.  However, please note that any work associated with fulfilling our core business i.e. teaching, MUST be made through payroll, and cannot be made against an invoice. There are significant penalties for failing to operate PAYE and national insurance procedures properly, and this can be applied retroactively for six previous years.

8.Holiday Pay

Casual Workers are entitled, pro-rata, to 5.6 weeks (28 days) paid holiday each year. They are required to take their holiday on days when they are not scheduled to teach or undertake other work. For convenience, proportionate holiday pay, for each period worked, will be paid with salary. This method of payment means that holiday pay will be paid in advance and no further payment will be due at the time when holiday is taken or for payment in lieu.

For these staff holiday pay represents 10.7692% of the basic hourly rate of pay. 

Please bear in mind that in assessing a rate the holiday pay should be considered as an additional entitlement over and above the normal rate for the job.


Each casual worker will have a personalised weekly timesheet (PWT) sent to them by email each week. The personalised timesheet will have been prepopulated with information, including the cost code to which the payments will be charged. This will be the code given on the CWA form (Authorisation for Engagement of Casual Workers) and this cannot be changed unless a revised CWA form is submitted. 

The casual worker should present the timesheet to the recruiting manager each week, to complete the hours worked and rate of pay, and for the manager’s signature. 

For casual workers who hold Tier 4 visas (this will be indicated on the PWT), it is ESSENTIAL that the personalised timesheets are completed each week as it provides a vital check that any working hours’ restrictions are being met.  Any UG, PG Taught or PG Research student who has worked more than 20 hours in total in any given week MUST additionally attach to the PWT a document detailing the term dates for their programme of study (UG and Taught PG) or a copy of the MAP entry showing the annual leave that their supervisor has approved (PG Research). (For a full explanation see the Guidance Note for Working Hours Permitted by Tier 4 Visa Holders). If the document is missing, or if the details show that more than 20 hours was worked in term time (UG and Taught PG) or when annual leave has not been approved (PG Research) then the manager should notify HR immediately. 

The casual worker is also required to sign the form to confirm their agreement with the hours they have worked. 

(Guidance on calculating employment costs is given at (Appendix 6)

10.Procedure for Processing Payments

Completed personalised weekly timesheets (PWT) should be sent to the payroll team in HR to allow processing for payment. The monthly deadline for submitting PWTs is 5.00 pm on the 7th of the month; this will ensure payments can be processed for payment into bank accounts on 20th of the month. All payments are paid monthly, and all PWTS submitted for work done in one month are paid the following month. Payment cannot take place unless a properly completed Form CWB, was received into the HR office BEFORE the work was carried out.  Individuals will not be paid if this has not happened. 

Please submit PWTs promptly and to the deadline given above. If casual workers have completed work with us they have a right to expect prompt payment, but PWTs submitted to us after the deadline will have to wait until the following month. We are unable to make rapid payments simply because forms have not arrived into Payroll on time. 

11.Payroll Deductions

All payments to casual workers will be made through the university payroll, and will be subject to deductions for income tax and national insurance.  Payments are made monthly by BACS. There is no facility to pay by cheque.  No payments will be made if the appropriate forms (either CWA or CWB) were not submitted to HR BEFORE the individual started work. 

12.Redundancy Payments

Statutory redundancy payments are payable to employees who have worked for more than two continuous years and the amounts due are based on service and weekly pay. The number of years’ service is calculated in whole (completed) years and entitlement is calculated for each completed year within age groupings. Please see Appendix 7 – Statutory Redundancy Pay Calculation Table.

You are advised to take account of these payments in your budget if you continue to engage a casual worker who has accrued more than two years’ service with the University. 

13.Network User Accounts

All network user accounts will be generated through entry of new appointments onto the HR system.  Once HR knows that a new casual worker is starting (i.e. on receipt of a correctly completed Form CWB and a successful ‘right to work’ check) their details will be put on to the HR/Payroll System which will trigger the creation of a network user account, details of which will be given to the individual and/or their manager if this has been requested on the form.

Updated June 2016
Human Resources