Employment of Associate Lecturers (ALs)

  • Introduction

    The University is operating in an increasingly competitive environment and depends on a range of funding sources - some increasing, some declining, some variable and insecure. The University needs to be a productive, efficient and flexible organisation, making full use of modern patterns of work that meet future challenges. Equally importantly, the University wishes to treat all its employees fairly and to offer opportunities for all staff groups to pursue and develop their careers. The aim of this policy is thus to achieve a proper balance between the flexible and efficient delivery of high quality teaching, on the one hand, and security of employment and fair treatment of employees, on the other.

    The aims of this policy are:

    • To ensure that associate lecturing (AL) staff are rewarded equitably across the University and that the procedures for the employment and reward of ALs are clear and transparent.
    • To ensure that the payment of ALs meets HMRC regulations.
    • To ensure that the employment of ALs meets the future needs of the University, enhances the student experience and maximises AL staff engagement.
    • To provide a career pathway for those ALs who wish to pursue a career in academia.

    This policy was approved by Executive Board with effect from 1 September 2014, starting with staged implementation across the University with a view to cross-University application from September 2015. 

    The policy was reviewed and amended in 2016 and again in 2018. This updated version of the policy was approved by the Vice-Chancellors Group (VCG) July 2018 for application from the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

    1.1 Scope

    It is recognised that some aspects of the University’s teaching activity are distinctive and have different business needs from the general pattern of associate lecturing. Accordingly, this policy does not apply to the staff groups listed below, although relevant PVC Deans and Directors may wish to adopt certain aspects of the policy as appropriate:

    • ACCA Partnership ALs employed by the School of Business
    • Healthcare Lecturer Practitioners in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences who are NHS employees

    Different rates of pay apply to the following categories of associate lecturing staff and may only be used with the express approval of HR:

    • Music Teachers giving individual tuition to students as part of the degree
    • Design Studio Leaders in Architecture
    • Expert Professionals in Real Estate and Construction

    The Vice-Chancellor’s Group will review these rates every two years in the light of up to date market pay information from TDE. The next review will take place in 2020 with any changes applying from September 2020.

    1.3 Review

    HR will liaise with each faculty and relevant directorates each year to review those ALs who appear to be potentially eligible to transfer to a permanent fractional contract in order to determine the grade and arrangements for transfer, where appropriate.

    2. Recruiting Associate Lecturers

    2.1 Use of Associate Lecturers

    The employment of ALs allows the University the flexibility that is essential for the delivery of its courses and programmes. However, ALs should not normally be relied upon to provide ongoing course and programme delivery. The University is committed to keeping the use of such contracts to a minimum by ensuring that, as far as practicable, delivery is covered within the Faculty/Directorate's substantive teaching resources. Where this is not possible, part-time AL contracts may be used in the following circumstances to cover:

    • a temporary staff absence that is approximately 0.2fte/110 contact hours per year or fewer
    • a temporary increase in workload
    • an unplanned/unexpected situation
    • the need for specialist input
    • a new course where its success and longevity are not yet known

    AL contracts should not be used to cover the full role and responsibilities of those taking planned absences of predetermined length, e.g. maternity leave or sabbaticals. In such instances other temporary arrangements should be used, normally a fixed-term Lecturer or Senior Lecturer contract recruited through a full recruitment and selection procedure.

    However, where such circumstances arise, Faculties/Directorates may find that it is possible to cover a number of the duties and responsibilities within the existing team and therefore may use an AL contract to cover part of the role, e.g. specific teaching commitments for certain modules. When considering such an option Faculties/Directorates should take into account the workload implications for the team as a whole.

    2.2 Recruitment and Selection Procedure

    It is expected that ALs will normally be recruited in line with the University’s Recruitment and Selection Procedure through an open and competitive process.

    However, it is recognised that there will be occasions where this is not practicable. In such cases an appointment of a suitable candidate may be made without following the University’s full recruitment and selection processes, but always with the following being received/undertaken before any offer of work is agreed.

    • Approval by Head of Department, PVC Dean of Faculty, Director and Faculty/Directorate Finance.
    • Receipt of a full CV.
    • Interview with two members of university staff to confirm that the AL has the skills, abilities and knowledge required on the person specification.
    • Provision of documentary proof of right to work in the UK (i.e. UK/EEA passport or passport with a valid visa entry, or other acceptable documents).
    • Before any AL starts work a satisfactory oral reference from a relevant past employer must be sought and received. This is the responsibility of the line manager.
    • Where required, a satisfactory standard or enhanced disclosure through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) should be provided. The University reserves the right to withdraw any offer of employment where an individual is deemed as unsuitable to work in the position offered as a result of an unsatisfactory DBS disclosure.

    Additional notes

    • Subject to the normal authorisation to engage, former Brookes staff who have left within two years may be appointed without interview.
    • Where practicable, recruiting managers are encouraged to recruit potential associates from a ‘pool’ of appropriate staff who can then be called upon should a future need arise. Those recruited in this way need not be initially assigned teaching duties but can be selected and vetted in advance of when they are subsequently called upon.
    • Recruiting managers are responsible for ensuring all new ALs are aware of the University’s policy on employment status (see section 3 below).

    3. Employment Status

    Since 1 January 2015, it has been university policy to engage all ALs as employees without exception. From that date, any AL who had previously been recognised by the University as self-employed was treated as an employee through the payroll.

    4. Associate Lecturer Duties/Role Profile

    The normal range of duties undertaken by an AL will include some or all of the following:

    1. To lead lectures and/or seminars across a range of undergraduate and/or postgraduate programmes.
    2. To provide support to module leaders, for example assisting with the preparation of teaching and assessment materials, as directed by the module leader.
    3. To supervise dissertations.
    4. Where appropriate, to supervise practical and specialist skills-based work (e.g. laboratory science practicals or studio work).
    5. To mark and assess students’ work.
    6. To supervise examinations.
    7. To act as a first point of contact in providing pastoral support and guidance to students within tutorial provision and to refer students on to their Academic Adviser as appropriate.
    8. To participate in administrative processes to ensure compliance with institutional procedures.
    9. To plan/prepare student experience activities, e.g. field trips, exhibitions, etc. Exceptionally, ALs may lead field trips provided that the head of department and PVC Dean is satisfied that the AL has the appropriate skill and experience.
    10. To supervise and undertake student placement visits as required.
    11. To attend programme meetings as required (normally a maximum of two per semester, approximately 2 x 2 hours) and to contribute collaboratively to curriculum development as appropriate. ALs will be paid for attendance at such meetings at the Basic Rate.
    12. To participate in performance evaluation and review processes as appropriate.

    ALs are not be expected to be involved in any of the following activities:

    1. Academic Adviser
    2. Research and knowledge exchange
    3. Module leadership: while Associate Lecturers are not normally be expected to act as Module Leads, exceptionally, with the approval of the PVC Dean and Head of Department, an AL may be asked to carry out some or all of the duties of a Module Lead. Where this is the case, the AL will be paid at the Basic Rate for the work involved.

    5. Rate of Pay

    There are two rates of pay:

    • Comprehensive scheduled teaching rate which includes time spent on preparation and marking, pastoral guidance, and dissertation supervision.
    • Basic hourly rate which is largely intended to cover non-teaching duties (save those referenced in 5.2), and included additional marking (see 5.1 below).

    ALs will be appointed to scale point 30 within grade 8 and will progress to scale point 31 after completing one academic year of teaching. (Note: following a break in teaching, ALs who have previously completed one year's teaching, will be paid at scale point 31.)

    AL appointments are made according to formal scheduled teaching. The rate of pay is calculated on the basis of the ‘comprehensive scheduled teaching rate’.

    Comprehensive Rate

    The comprehensive rate is calculated as 2.5 x the basic hourly rate, as follows:

    • Scale point salary divided by 365 (days in year) x 7 (days in week) and divided by 37 (notional full-time working week) = Basic hourly rate
    • This basic hourly rate of pay is then multiplied by 2.5 to give the Comprehensive teaching rate.

    The current pay spine can be found here.

    Basic Rate*

    Comprehensive Rate*

    Scale point 30 hourly rate £20.75 £43.79
    Scale point 31 hourly rate £21.37 £45.10

    * Rates as at 1 August 2019

    The Comprehensive Rate includes payment for time spent on preparation and assessment. An illustrative calculation is set out below which assumes a standard module with 36 hours of contact time.

    Comprehensive rate includes payment for:

    Formal scheduled teaching 36.0 hours
    Preparation and scholarship, assessment setting and moderation, including re-sits 24.0 hours
    **(based on marking single module (3000 words) for approximately 25 students (c 0.5 hours per script)

    12.0 hours

    Pastoral guidance 4.5 hours
    Sub total 76.5 hours
    Holiday pay 18.46% 14.12 hours

    Total hours

    90.62 hours


    For further illustration, the comprehensive rate breaks down as follows:

    Formal scheduled teaching hour

    1.000 hours

    Preparation and scholarship, assessment setting, and moderation, including re-sits

    0.667 hours

    **(based on marking single module (3000 words) of approximately 25 students
    0.333 hours
    Pastoral guidance 0.125 hours
    Sub total 2.125 hours
    Holiday pay (plus 18.46%)  
    Total (paid) hours per scheduled hour 2.5 hours

    5.1 Marking, Additional Marking and Administration of Results

    The Comprehensive Rate includes an element within the payment for time spent marking. Each hour paid at the Comprehensive Rate includes 20 minutes (0.333 hours) for marking. This assumes 25 students and a single module of 3000 words. For example, a contract for 12 units at the Comprehensive Rate includes payment for 4 hours of marking (8 @ 30 minutes each = 4 hours).

    Any marking in addition to this may be claimed and will be paid at the Basic Rate, as set out in 5.2 below.

    An additional allocation of hours for marking and assessment may be assigned to an Associate Lecturer if their line manager considers that the nature of the assessment is more complex than the norm.

    5.1.1 Calculation of payment for additional marking

    The University has determined a banded matrix of standard times for marking assessment based on the word count/length of the assignment:

    No.of words per script

    Minutes per script


    Up to 1,000 words 15 0.250
    1,001 to 1,500 words 20 0.333
    1,501 to 3,000 words 30 0.500

    Example: marking 24 assignments of 1,000 words gives marking time of 6 hours.
    If the Comprehensive Rate payment includes 4 hours for marking, then a further 2 hours can be claimed at the Basic Rate. If the Comprehensive Rate payment includes more than 6 hours, there is no additional payment, but no reduction in payment.

    5.2 Basic Hourly Rate

    Where extra non-teaching hours are required or where teaching is conducted without the normal attendant duties of assessment setting, marking and pastoral guidance (e.g. workshop facilitation) Associate Lecturers will be paid at the basic hourly rate plus holiday pay (see 5.2.2 below)

    Basic Rate

    Annual Leave at 18.46% per hour


    Scale point 30 hourly rates




    Scale point 31 hourly rates




    Last reviewed: August 2019

    5.2.1 Administration of assessment results

    The University recognises that, in addition to marking itself, administration is required to record the results on the University’s systems and will pay 0.5 hours at the Basic Rate for each ‘assessment point’ (i.e. per assessment, not per student).

    5.2.2 Other Claimable Hours - rate of pay

    Payment for any of the following duties will be made at the Basic Rate (see section 5.3 below).

    *Lecture attendance allowance: attendance at lectures for the first run of any module is an assumed requirement and will be paid at the Basic Rate. If non-attendance is agreed with the module leader or if the hours for attendance are not present on the workload plan, hours will not be claimable.

    Attendance at repeat lectures within or across semesters is not expected and will not normally be paid.

    5.3 Method of Payment and submitting claims

    ALs will be issued with a schedule of work/workload plan, normally prior to the start of semester. ALs will be paid on receipt of claims for the hours worked. Claims should be submitted electronically each month.  See the claims process here.

    5.4 Annual Leave

    ALs will receive a pro rata leave entitlement according to the number of hours worked at the rate of 18.46% holiday pay for each hour worked. This is calculated as follows:

    • Academics are entitled to 48 days’ leave per year (35 days annual leave and 13 bank holidays and Brookes concessionary days).
    • There are approximately 260 working days in a year therefore leave is calculated as follows: 48 days leave / 260 working days x 100 = 18.46%

    For convenience the hourly rate (both Comprehensive and Basic Rates) and proportion of holiday pay will be paid at the same time for each hour of teaching. This method of payment means that holiday pay will have already been paid in advance and no further pay will be due when annual leave is taken or for payment in lieu.

    5.5 Payment during sickness

    Statutory sick pay and occupational sick pay will be payable to ALs if their average earnings meet the lower earnings threshold in the eight weeks prior to the period of their sickness. Actual calculations can be obtained from the payroll department. 

    Providing appropriate medical certification is supplied, ALs will receive their net monthly rate of pay (incorporating Statutory Sick Pay) for the following periods:

    During 1st year of employment

    1 month’s full pay and (after 4 months’ service), 2 months’ half-pay

    During 2nd year of employment 3 months’ full pay and 3 months’ half-pay
    During 3rd year of employment 4 months’ full pay and 4 months’ half-pay
    After 3 years of employment 6 months’ full pay and 6 months’ half-pay

    Sick pay will be calculated as the average of the last twelve weeks’ earnings prior to the first day of sickness.

    5.6 Other benefits

    6. Induction and Training and Development

    To ensure that new ALs are fully integrated into the Faculty/Directorate and University, heads of department (or their nominees) will ensure that all new ALs receive an appropriate induction at faculty/directorate level. ALs recruited to a fractional appointment will also be required to attend the University’s induction courses. ALs will be paid for their participation in induction and induction-related training (up to a maximum of two hours) at the basic hourly rate (see section 5.2).

    Induction must include the following as a minimum requirement:

    • Health and safety, including assistance when teaching out of hours
    • Reporting absence
    • University Code of Conduct, including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

    Faculties/Directorates are encouraged to develop a local electronic handbook for new ALs. A template handbook which Faculties and Directorates can adapt is provided at the following link:  Associate Lecturer Welcome and Induction Handbook.

    All ALs will be allocated a mentor in their first semester (this can often be the Programme or Module Leader, who will receive an allocation for this in their Workload Plan). The mentor will be expected to:

    • Familiarise the AL with Moodle
    • Familiarise the AL with programme requirements including marking criteria
    • Observe teaching in the first semester to ensure it is appropriate and congruent with a good student experience and provide feedback to the AL. The mentor will complete the OCSLD teaching observation planning and feedback sheet which can be accessed via this page:  https://sites.google.com/a/brookes.ac.uk/petal/pot
    • Ensure the AL is aware of projects related to the  Student Experience

    Further information about staff development opportunities at Brookes may be found on the OCSLD web site at  /OCSLD/Courses/Teaching-and-learning.

    6.2 Training and development

    Where ALs are required by their line manager to undertake training relevant to their role, e.g. Moodle training, they will be paid at the Basic Rate (see section 5.2).

    There is no formal obligation for ALs to undertake developmental activities. Any AL who wishes to participate in learning and development activities are is encouraged to do so but no payment for time to attend such activities will normally be made.

    Some courses/activities are free to ALs and others will be chargeable. For example, the  Associate Teachers course provided by OCSLD is free (paid for by Faculty/Directorate). There will be no payment to the AL for attendance.

    7. Transfer to Fractional Appointments

    7.1 Eligibility for consideration
    At the commencement of the third year following two successive academic years of working 110 or more contact hours within one Faculty/Directorate, ALs will be offered the opportunity to transfer to a permanent, fractional appointment, subject to:

    • the Faculty/Directorate’s business plan/strategic objectives; and
    • the longer-term viability of the course(s) on which the lecturer has an input, the student numbers on the course(s), and the staff:student ratio for their area of work compared with how other areas of teaching across the Faculty/Directorate are resourced.

    NB. All contact hours will be taken into account, whether at the comprehensive rate or the basic rate. Thus, all basic rate work of a pedagogic nature, such as short course delivery, stand-alone seminars, tutorials, etc. will be counted.

    ALs will be matched against the Academic roles which best reflects their future duties, skills and experience and potential. Fractional appointments will provide a career progression route for teaching staff.

    The precise fraction of the contract will be determined in consultation between the AL and the Faculty in which they teach. As a starting point, ALs should be offered an FTE which, at a minimum, preserves their normal earnings as an AL.
    Transfers, where appropriate, will commence from 1 September in the year the transfer was offered (i.e.in the third year of continuous employment as an AL).

    • Academic Adviser
    • Research and/or knowledge exchange
    • Dissertation supervision (if not already undertaken)

    ALs covering for a long-term absence, e.g. maternity leave or extended sickness absence, may be offered a fractional temporary contract for the duration of the absence. 

    ALs who decline the offer of a transfer on two occasions will not be asked again, even if they are eligible in subsequent years. However, such ALs may request consideration for a transfer to a permanent fractional contract at a later date, should they change their mind.

    7.2 Right of appeal
    Where a Faculty/Directorate declines to offer a transfer to an AL who has been identified from payroll records by HR as being potentially eligible, they should provide an explanation for that decision.

    The AL will have a right to appeal against that decision, by writing to the Associate Dean Strategy and Development (or to the Director if they are employed in a directorate) setting out the grounds for the appeal. The AL has the right to be represented by a colleague or trade union representative during this process. 

    Associate Dean should arrange to meet the AL (and representative, where applicable) and the Head of Department or Programme Lead to consider the appeal. This meeting should normally take place within 15 working days. Following the meeting the Associate Dean may make such enquiries as are necessary to reach a conclusion. The outcome will be notified to the AL in writing and that decision will be final.

    8. Specialist (Guest) Lecturer

    A Specialist (Guest) Lecturer is defined by HMRC as an external specialist who is invited to lecture for the University on no more than three sessions in three consecutive months or as an external specialist who is invited to speak at a lecture which is open to the public.

    Only one-off lectures as defined above should be claimed on the Specialist Lecturer Claim Form. A specialist lecturer must not undertake any duties other than giving a lecture.

    No tax or National Insurance contributions will be deducted from fees paid. Reasonable expenses will be paid in line with University’s current expense policy. 

    Last Reviewed: August 2019

    Next Review: May 2020