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A1.1: Main page

Guidance on the type and usage of employment contracts within BBSRC

1. Types of contracts

BBSRC has two main contract types for new employees:

  • Indefinite, which cover appointments with no foreseeable end date
  • Short-term, which cover appointments that are to last for a short period (these are also known as period appointments)

Further information on each of these and the appointment types they cover can be found below.

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2. Indefinite contracts

2.1 Normal indefinite appointments

These are permanent appointments. BBSRC will use one of a small number of contract templates depending on an employee's working arrangements - e.g. whether they work full time, part-time, for part of the year (e.g. term-time working) or some other variation of working arrangements.

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3. Short-term contracts

The use of short-term appointments is strictly governed by a collective agreement with the Trade Union, short-term appointment agreement. Any establishment that wishes to use a short-term contract for appointments not meeting the definition of those below should contact the Human Resources group at BBSRC Office.

3.1 Casual appointment

This is a full or part-time appointment of 3 months or less. In the event that you wish to extend a casual contract or re-appoint within 12 months of the initial appointment and the period will be for less than 12 months, then you should use the temporary appointment version of the contract, see paragraph 3.1b, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.2 Temporary appointment

A full or part-time appointment of greater than 3 months but less than 12 months (including notice), but not where the contract will be terminated due to a supervening event. See paragraph 3.1b, appendix A1.1i(Employment of short-term staff).

3.3 Supervening event termination appointment

This is a full or part-time appointment of greater than 3 months that will be terminated due to a supervening event, for example to cover for maternity/sick absence, career breaks, where an indefinite employee is filling a 'limited term post', or to complete a specific task (see paragraph 3.5 below). The contract should not specify a fixed end date, but an estimate of the period of employment (see paragraph 4.2.3 below). See also paragraph 3.1c, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.4 Sandwich course students

This is a 6-month appointment and it is exempt from the 'Fixed Term Employee regulations', paragraph 3.1d, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.5 Limited term appointment

An appointment which meets the definition of a), b) or all of the criteria set out under c):

a) The appointment is part of an externally funded, peer reviewed fellowship;

b) The appointment is part a strategic longer and larger grant (LoLa); funding typically supports research projects requiring longer timescales, extensive resources, or multidisciplinary approaches. Proposals must be over £2M (FEC project value net of any industrial contribution) and can be up to 5 years in duration.

c) All of the following:

  • It is part of a limited term grant, or specifically funded project of less than 4 years
  • There is little or no expectation that the work will continue beyond the duration of this support
  • The work requires specialist scientific skills or other skills and there is no expectation that these skills will be required beyond the life of the project.  This will also apply to highly specialised or unique technical skills.

(See paragraph 3.1e and paragraph 3.1f, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.6 Career track appointment

This appointment can be for up to 6 years in duration and is for research scientists recruited into the career track scheme, which is for the development of high flying researchers with the potential to be programme leaders. See paragraph 3.1h, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.7 Post-doctoral training appointments

These appointments are for 3 years in duration and are made as part of the BBSRC post-doctoral training scheme, which offers training and development to recently qualified post-doctoral scientists, or those changing discipline. See paragraph 3.1h, appendix A1.1i (Employment of short-term staff).

3.8 Zero hours working assignments

Zero hour working assignments are used where there is the requirement for short term occasional or ad hoc work. Under this arrangement there will be an overreaching agreement in place and separate assignments will be issued for each period of work. There will be no continuing obligation on BBSRC to offer any more work once an assignment has been completed or for the worker to accept any work that may be offered in the future.

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4. End of contract

This section is concerned with what happens when indefinite contracts end due to redundancy and the different ways in which short-term contracts expire, and the procedures that should be used in each case.

4.1 Indefinite appointments

4.1.1 Normal indefinite appointment

When employees with greater than 24 months service on these appointments are to be made redundant they are entitled to both statutory and a Research Council pension scheme redundancy payment, however, pension scheme redundancy pay subsumes statutory redundancy pay, where this may also be payable. The redeployment and redundancy procedures applicable for these posts can be found at appendix A14.1.

4.2 Short-term appointments

4.2.1 Casual appointment

These appointments may be time or task limited and will simply terminate when the end date is reached or the task is completed. If the establishment wishes to terminate the contract prior to the end date or task completion, notice should be given (see section A14 for notice periods).

4.2.2 Temporary appointment

These appointments are not fixed to a specific end date and should be terminated by giving one weeks' notice. (If the employee is working for a complete 12 month period, they should be given their notice in sufficient time to ensure that their service does not exceed 12 months.

4.2.3 Supervening event termination appointment

Employees filling these posts should be given as much notice as possible of when the original post-holder will return or the 'event' will occur (e.g. completion of a specific task). Termination of the contract upon return of the post-holder will be for 'some other substantial reason', SOSR*.

4.2.4 Sandwich course students

This is a 6-month appointment and it will terminate automatically at the end of the 6 month period.

4.2.5 Limited term appointment

The expiry of a Limited Term Appointment will be treated as a redundancy. When employees in this category are made redundant they are entitled only to statutory redundancy pay. The redeployment and redundancy procedures applicable for these posts can be found at appendix A14.1.

4.2.6 Career track appointment

Although the expectation is that these employees will be promoted at the end of the scheme, some will not achieve the standard of performance required. In these cases termination of the appointment will be by reason of capability* and can be at anytime within the 6 year period. Prior to dismissal they should be considered for redeployment in accordance with the redeployment and redundancy procedure set out in appendix A14.1.

4.2.7 Post-doctoral training appointment

These appointments end once the employee has completed their training programme and the contract will terminate for 'SOSR'*.

* Where establishments or specific functional areas are winding down for closure, and career track, post-doctoral training or supervening event termination appointments can no longer be supported as a consequence then a statutory redundancy payment will be due if the employee's service exceeds 24 months.

4.2.8 Zero hour working assignments

Employment will come to an end automatically at the end of the assignment.

During an assignment, employment may be terminated, at any time by BBSRC or the worker giving one week's notice of termination in writing.

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5. Redundancy pay

5.1 Who is entitled to statutory redundancy pay in a redundancy situation?

  • Employees on normal indefinite or Limited Term appointments with continuous service in JNCC employment that exceeds 24 months
  • Employees over 60 but under 65 years of age either on existing limited term or normal indefinite appointments, where they have service in JNCC employment that exceeds 24 months and are terminated outside of the "annual review" (employees retained in employment beyond their 60th birthday will have their employment reviewed annually at the end of each birthday year)

5.2 Who is entitled to a redundancy payment under the Research Councils Pension Scheme

Employees on normal indefinite contracts with continuous service in JNCC employment that exceeds 24 months (N.B. Contractual redundancy pay subsumes statutory redundancy pay, where this may also be payable)

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6. Notice periods where an employee is made redundant

See paragraph 18, appendix A14.2

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7. Pension scheme arrangements for eligible new entrants

Pension scheme options: a) Nuvos, or b) Partnership scheme
Action required: Standard information should be issued, as provided by JSS Pensions Administration. The employee is automatically entered into the Nuvos Pension Scheme, and the appropriate pension scheme contributions will be taken from their pay, unless they indicate in writing that (a) they wish to set up a Partnership Pension Account or (b) opt out of all pension arrangements. Where this indication is made within the first three months of starting, the employee's choice will be backdated to their start date, otherwise it will be actioned from their next suitable payroll.

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Last updated 02/01/14
Amendment 167 - January 2014