Code of Practice on the employment of staff on fixed-term substantive contracts



Lancaster University recognises the significant contribution which research staff make to the work of the University and is committed to the development of standards for the career and personnel management of research staff. Recognising its responsibility as an employer, the University is committed to the implementation of policies and practices which accord with the CVCP Concordat on the career management of contract research staff and which further the interests of the University and of individual researchers.

Statement on the use of Fixed Term contracts.

Fixed-term contracts are intended primarily for the purposes of project work or other work of limited or uncertain duration. The normal expectation is that, once funding has ceased or the project has been completed, the contract will cease.

The University will review the contractual position of research staff who have been employed on a series of fixed-term contracts for more than 4 years, to explore the possibility of transfer to an indefinite contract.

Fixed-term contracts will not be used as a form of probation in order to evaluate suitability for a post.

Conditions of Employment

Fixed term staff enjoy the same conditions of service as academic and related staff, for example in respect of: basic annual leave; maternity leave; removal expenses; access to pension membership; sickness benefit; access to staff development facilities; entitlement to apply through the Promotions Committee for promotion or accelerated increments.

Salary increases awarded as part of national salary negotiations will be paid simultaneously to research staff as to other staff covered by the award.


The appointment of new research staff will normally be subject to a probationary period. The probationary period will be determined on appointment, but will be no more than one year.

Performance Development Review (PDR)

The University policy on Performance Development Review states that “All Lancaster University staff in all grades employed for more than 12 months continuously are expected to take part in an annual PDR in order to review their own performance in the previous year, agree a set of objectives or targets for the forthcoming year, and have a career plan/development discussion that supports performance, leading to an agreed development plan”. See separate guidance on the PDR scheme for more details.

Research staff on fixed term contracts are covered by the Concordat to support the career development of Researchers, though all staff employed on contracts of 12 months duration or more should benefit from the expectations placed upon all parties outlined in the summary of the Concordat. Staff on fixed term contracts should be encouraged to explore development opportunities, and take responsibility for their development during the period of their employment with the University.

Consultation and Communication

The Human Resources Department will alert individuals on fixed-term contracts and their Head of Department in advance of the expiry of a fixed-term contract so that the Head of Department or Principal Investigator may take appropriate action.

It is the responsibility of the Head of Department or Principal Investigator to consult with the member of staff concerned about the action they intend to take.

The Human Resources department operates a redeployment register. Staff on fixed-term contracts which are due to expire are eligible to register and receive information and advice on vacancies. It must be recognised that where the area of expertise of a researcher is very specialised, this will limit the scope for further or other employment within the University.

Payment upon Expiry of Contract

In the case of expiry of a fixed-term contract of a member of staff with 2 or more years' continuous service, the University will make a severance payment. The normal calculation will be the Statutory Redundancy Payment although the University may exercise its discretion in special cases to enhance the basic level of payment.

Teaching Company Associates

This is a special category of fixed-term contract employee. Although formally employed by the University, the workplace is that of the sponsoring company. Teaching Company Associates are usually employed for a period of 2 years which may be extended by a third, final year. Teaching Company Associates' contracts are based largely upon standard research staff contracts, however salary comparators are their industry plant co-workers, rather than University researchers. Accordingly, scale increments and national pay awards may be applied only if so agreed with the relevant company, taking account of salary relativity.

(Christine Brereton)
Review Date July 2014

Lancaster University
Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201