Your Nationally Agreed Contract in Post-92 Universities
This is a brief summary of the key aspects of the national contract. You can access the precise terms here. If you have any further inquiries about your contract, please contact you’re the UCU representative in your school, or the Chair or Secretary of your UCU branch. Some of the aspects of the national contract have been improved in locally negotiated variations.
1. the contract is a ‘professional contract’ which means that you have discretion in making the appropriate arrangements for meeting your obligations in it, i.e. you have can determine flexibility, in the light of contingent circumstances, how best and most efficiently to acquit your duties;
2. your precise duties are determined and reviewed annually in agreement with your Head of School (your line manager) in your annual Staff Development Review interview (see separate summary of the SDR process);
3. formal scheduled teaching responsibilities (all lectures, seminars, practical, studio critical sessions, seminars, academic or pastoral tutorials, supervisions, etc. i.e. all official meetings with students) are ‘contact time’ for the purpose of this agreement;
4. your contact time should never exceed 550 hours in any one academic year (or 18 hours in any one week);
5. a limited set of exceptions to these maxima are included in the staff Handbook, covering some aspects of Teacher Education and Art and Design.
6. your working year is 38 weeks, including two weeks for teaching-related administration.
7. unless by prior agreement with BOTH yourself and the recognised unions, you will not be required to deliver more than 14 weeks of continuous teaching;
8. you are entitled to 35 working days of holiday period in addition to all statutory holidays, and the timing of these needs to be agreed with your Head of School, and it is reasonable for you to schedule 6 continuous weeks of this time unless there are compelling reasons why this should create difficulty;
9. you are contracted to engage in ‘scholarly activity’, not least to remain abreast of your subject area(s), and it is expected that this work will be concentrated outside of your teaching year and your holiday periods;
10. ‘scholarly activity’ may take the form of research towards the development of new knowledge, the dissemination of new knowledge in books and scholarly articles in journals or on the web, or the summatorial reproduction of existing knowledge in text books or their equivalent, and there is no contractual obligation to concentrate on any one or group of these;
11. such scholarly activity is one of your contractual duties, so you are ‘accountable’ for it in the sense of registering at your SDR interview how you have spent that time in the previous year, and how you intend to spend your future scholarly activity time over the coming year, but what you do (i.e. how you use the time as between the types of activity indicated above, and on what subject matter you focus) is a matter for your academic discretion, and not a matter of agreement with your Head of School;
12. your salary is paid monthly in arrears, and is subject to an annual increment within your grade which represents recognition of your enhanced experience in delivering the duties related to that grade, and an annual adjustment as a result of nationally negotiated alterations to the pay scales as agreed between the University and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) and the recognised trade unions;
13. you are entitled to sick pay when ill (see Sickness Absence in the Staff Handbook);
14. you are entitled to maternity/paternity leave as specified in the Staff Handbook;
15. except in respect of external examining, assessing and moderating, production of books and scholarly articles, all external contractual obligations that are remunerated must be agreed in advance with the University, particularly in respect of the use of the University’s facilities;
16. agreement will not be withheld unless the external contract or consultancy has a demonstrably adverse effect on your professional responsibilities to the University, or creates a conflict of interest for you between your internal and external obligations;
17. inventions and any associated patients are addressed in clauses 14.1 to 14.5.5 of the national contract (as amended by local agreement);
18. confidentiality is addressed in clauses 15.1 to 15.4 of the national contract (as amended by local agreement);
19. copyright is addressed in clauses 16.1 to 16.6 of the national contract (as amended by local agreement);
20. your pension entitlement and requirement is covered in clauses 17.1 and 17.2, though some colleagues have retained membership of the USS from their employment in pre-92 institutions, the normal age of retirement of 65 for men and 60 for women no longer applies; and the legal requirement to be in a pension scheme takes precedence;
21. the terms of disciplinary and grievance procedures are agreed locally, and can be found on this website;
22. your probationary period is 12 months from the date of your appointment;
23. your notice period to the University is two months and the University’s notice period to you is three months.