Casual Workers FAQs

Please note that we are currently reviewing and updating our casual worker web pages in response to the launch of the Casual Engagement Principles (October 2023).  Should you have any questions in the interim, please contact


What is a casual worker?

A casual worker is someone who is able to work on a flexible basis, usually for a short period of time, to meet changing demands and peak workloads. They should not be used to ‘trial’ an individual, nor should they be engaged into regular work within a pattern.

The term “casual” refers to circumstances where there is a clear understanding that the individual has no obligation to be available for work, and the University has no obligation to provide work.

Casual workers are only paid for hours worked, plus any accrued statutory annual leave. 

How does a casual worker differ from an employee?

Casual workers have fewer rights compared to employees. Casual workers are given statutory protection which recognises they are in a subordinate position to the person for whom they work. They therefore have certain rights under the working time and whistleblowing legislation and protection from discrimination.

How long can a School/Department agree to engage a casual worker for?
A typical casual worker assignment should not last more than 10 months in duration. 
What rights do casual workers have compared to employees?

Casual workers are issued with a letter of assignment that includes a summary of their terms and conditions rather than a formal contract. This outlines the terms including; holiday, sickness absence, pension schemes and health and safety.

Workers are entitled to some limited employment rights, such as protection under the Working Time Regulations (including holiday) and the minimum wage. If you have any specific queries relating to employment rights you could contact the HR Employment Support Services team for advice and guidance.

Where do I direct students who are interested in temporary work?

Unitemps, our in-house service, who match individuals to temporary assignments that become available.

Where do I go if I have nobody in mind to fill the specific needs of a casual assignment?
Unitemps, will be able to match individuals with your specific requirements.
What information should be completed on the 'Casual Worker Request Form' and the 'Casual Registration Form', and who should complete which section?

All sections of the Casual Worker Request Form will need to be completed by the appropriate person within the School/Department in order to start the process. This includes the attachment of a copy of the casual workers eligibility to work in the UK documentation.

Upon approval of the Casual Worker Request Form HR will automatically be informed of this and an email will be sent to the casual worker requesting for them to complete a casual worker registration form.

The casual worker should then complete as soon as possible all sections of the registration form (includes bank and tax details) and submit. Upon receipt, HR will process the casual workers letter of assignment.
Why does the casual worker request form ask for a start and end date of the work to be undertaken?

This is important information as it enables HR to accurately record the start and end date for each assignment. Casual assignments cannot be open-ended; therefore, a projected end date must be included. Should circumstances change during the casual assignment then the manager will be required to submit an extension request via the Vacancy Manager system or if the assignment ends earlier than projected an email will need to be sent to the HR Employment Support Services Team ( detailing the revised details.

Who should complete the casual worker registration form?

Once the casual worker request form has been authorised the casual worker will be sent an email containing a link requesting for them to complete their registration details. It is only when the registration form has been completed and submitted that HR are in a position to process the letter of assignment.

Do bank/tax details need to be provided for every new casual worker assignment?

Yes, a request for completing/confirming existing casual worker registration details (including bank/tax details) will be sent to a casual worker for each new assignment request, this is to ensure the accuracy of payment and tax details. HMRC rules require the University of Nottingham to re-establish an individual’s tax status between assignments.

Once a casual worker has completed the Casual Registration Form for the first time, all the information provided will be retained, with the exception of tax details. For each new casual worker assignment received thereafter by the individual, they will be required to simply check and confirm that all the details are correct and that no changes are required before submitting the form.

Is a casual worker required to provide their eligibility to work in the UK documentation for each new casual worker assignment?

Yes, you should complete a Right to Work Checklist for each new casual worker assignment.


What is the difference between a casual worker and a visiting/guest lecturer?

A visiting/guest lecturer is an individual who provides a one–off talk or short series of talks on a subject about which they have specialist knowledge, and is not part of the core curriculum.

The relevant School/Department is responsible for issuing the letter of engagement to the visiting/guest lecturer and all relevant documentation can be found on the Procurement Workspace pages.

In order for a payment to be processed by Payroll, the visiting/guest lecturer should complete the payment request form in full, obtain the appropriate authorisation and attach their letter of engagement.


If an assignment involves teaching, what principles are used to ensure appropriate support and guidance are in place?


What teaching support activities are appropriate for a Demonstrator role?

Demonstrator roles assist and support students in a laboratory, practical session or field work activity and may include:

  • Attending any training required by the School for the role (if so this should be paid).
  • Familiarisation with protocols, equipment or other information, including carrying out relevant exercises and experiments themselves beforehand.
  • Setting up laboratories or classrooms and the equipment, software or consumables required for a class.
  • Involvement in practical assessment – normally in class and subject to moderation by the responsible member of academic staff.
  • Providing feedback to the relevant lecturer and technical staff on any problems encountered, and to provide marking/assessment results.

The majority of time in a Demonstrator role is spent in direct contact with students, whereas Teaching Associates or similar roles would typically have a higher proportion of time outside of direct contact for preparing and reviewing course materials, marking and assessment, as well as student contact and support.

Timesheets when submitted should clearly indicate the nature of the activity in the ‘Description of work performed’ column to allow for review.

Demonstrators are expected to be closely supervised by the academic member of staff responsible for a session, and it is expected that the academic staff member will be in the class or readily available and contactable if required.

Does the Casual Worker require Enhanced DBS clearance?

If it is a condition of the casual worker assignment that satisfactory enhanced disclosure is obtained from the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’ (please note: DBS, the Disclosure and Barring Service has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau) you will need to contact a member of the HR Employment Support Services Team,tel: 0115 951 5202 or email:

Upon completion of the Casual Request Form, the manager will also need to provide HR with the following details:

From the list below which workforce will the casual worker be involved working with:

a) Enhanced DBS working with children*

b) Enhanced DBS – working with vulnerable adults*

c) Enhanced DBS – working with both children and adults

d) Enhanced DBS with list checks -Vulnerable Adult Barred Lists**

f) Enhanced DBS with list checks – Children Barred List**

g) Enhanced DBS with list checks – Vulnerable Adult and Children Barred Lists**

You will also be asked to provide the details of the project code you wish for the DBS processing charge to be costed to.

Does the casual worker require Disclosure Scotland clearance?

If it is a condition of the casual worker assignment that satisfactory basic disclosure Scotland clearance is obtained you will need to contact a member of the HR Employment Support Services Team on 0115 951 5202 or email:

Upon completion of the Casual Request Form, the manager will also need to indicate to HR that Disclosure Scotland clearance is required.

You will also be asked to provide the details of the project code you wish for the DBS processing charge to be costed to.

When do casual workers get paid?

Casual workers are paid at the same time as employees at the University.  Please see the Pay Dates web page.

In order to receive payment, the following will need to have taken place: the casual worker request form (raised by the manager) will need to have been authorised, the casual registration form to have been completed by the casual worker and their letter of assignment issued by HR. It is only then that the casual worker will be able to complete their weekly timesheets and obtain authorisation from the relevant individual within the School/Department before sending this through to Payroll for payment to be received.

All information regarding the payment associated with a casual worker's assignment must be received no later than the 14th of every month.

What if no claim is made within the period of engagement?

If a timesheet claim is not made until the end of the engagement there is a risk that the record may have been closed. To ensure that there are no complications in the casual worker receiving payment, claims should be submitted on a regular basis and the final timesheet to be submitted within two calendar months of the projected end date.

How do I agree the right rate of pay for the work assigned?

Pay for casual worker assignments should be reasonable and proportionate to the work completed.

The Casual Worker Request form requires either an hourly or daily rate of pay to be declared for the casual worker, this must concur with the University salary scales. The total budget allocated for casual work will need to be approved by the budget holder via the casual request process before engaging the casual worker in the assignment.

For teaching related assignments, please refer to the Principles for working with Teaching Affiliates and Faculty Teaching Norms documents which set out how to ensure casual workers are paid appropriately for teaching related tasks.

If you have any questions regarding this, then please contact the HR Employment Support Services team for more information.

Are casual workers entitled to holiday pay?
Yes, but on both the Casual Worker Request form and the claim for work timesheet please ensure that it is only the hourly rate excluding holiday pay quoted as this will be calculated by Payroll. For further information regarding holiday pay for casual workers then please contact Payroll Services.
How is holiday pay calculated?

Holiday pay is calculated at 12.07% for each hour worked.

Are casual workers expected to be paid at the bottom of the respective scale?

The principle of paying all staff at the bottom of the relevant pay scale as a starting point is good practice and applies to casual workers (where a casual worker assignment involves similar role requirements to that of an already established role). Please contact the HR Employment Support Services Team for further information.

Why is it important for me to indicate the Job Family for the casual worker on the request form?
HR requires this information in order to assign pensions appropriately you will need to complete the Casual Worker Request form based on the selection you would make if you were completing a request for the same position, but for a permanent/fixed-term member of staff.
As casual assignments are only for a short period of time, should the pay of a casual worker progress through the relevant pay scale?
Under normal circumstances, casual pay remains static and a casual worker is not entitled to progress under the normal progression rules applied for employees. There is no expectation that casual workers should undertake a PDPR review annually.
Where can I go to get further advice and guidance on the rates of pay?

Rates of pay under the different job families are available via the University salary scales.

Where can I find a timesheet?
Timesheets ( PAY01) are available on the Finance web pages.
Where do I send the timesheet once completed?
Timesheets should be sent to Payroll Services, Financial Operations, King's Meadow Campus, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2NR.

Will time sheets submitted in advance of the hours being worked be paid?

Timesheets submitted in advance of the hours being worked will NOT be paid under any circumstances.

Under what circumstances would Payroll return forms?
  • If incomplete timesheets are received.
  • If a timesheet has not been authorised correctly.
  • If a timesheet has been submitted ahead of the work being undertaken.
If a casual worker is claiming for various casual jobs in the same School/Department, do they need to fill out a different claim form for each job, for example someone who does invigilating, teaching and doing open days, at three different pay rates?

In this case separate timesheets would need to be completed to ensure that the right hours for the right pay are recorded and paid to the worker. The casual worker would receive separate assignment numbers in this instance and the timesheets should specify which assignment each claim relates to.

If forms have been sent to Payroll by the published deadline and they are returned for the reasons stated in the question above, will they be processed in the current payroll run?
If the manager returns the correct and completed documentation in time for the payroll deadline, then Payroll will undertake to process the payment. If the information is returned once the deadline has passed, then the information will be processed in the next available payroll.
What is a payroll number?

This is a unique six digit number and can be found on the letter of assignment issued to the casual worker by HR.

What is an assignment number?
An casual worker assignment number always starts with prefix ‘CA’ and is followed by a sequence of numbers. This is generated for each new assignment and relates to the work being carried out. The assignment number can be found on the letter of assignment issued to the casual worker by HR.
Who should authorise the casual worker's timesheet?

This varies between Schools/Departments, casual workers should contact the relevant individual within their area should there be any queries. Both the manager and the casual worker should sign the timesheet and submit this to Payroll within the payroll deadlines for each month. This is to verify that the work has been completed at the agreed hourly or daily rate.

Does your casual worker require vaccinations?
The majority of roles at the University of Nottingham will not require vaccinations. If you are unsure as to whether a specific casual worker assignment will require vaccinations, please contact either Occupational Health on 0115 95 14329 or your HR Business Partner.
Does the casual worker require professional registration?  

Anyone wishing to practise one of the regulated professions must register with an appropriate regulator.

Depending on the assignment will depend on the registration required,

  • GMC Registration and License
  • GOC Registration (General Optical Council)
  • GPhC Registration (General Pharmaceutical Council)
  • HCPC Registration
  • RCVS Registration
Does the casual worker assignment require additional pre-engagement verification checks?

These are exceptional additional verification checks for a small number of roles; all checks should be necessary, proportional and add real value. Please seek advice, if you feel that this would be necessary, with the HR Employment Support Services Team.



Important: all requests to hire students as casual workers should come through Unitemps.

How to contact HR Employment Support Services

Useful Links

Quick Links to Casual Worker Areas

Casual Worker Web Page Feedback Form

Last edited Oct 05, 2023