Employment of Associate Lecturers policy

1. 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) on 7 June 2021 for application from the start of the 2021-22 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.
  • Health and Social Care professionals 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 the People Directorate:

  • 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 2023 with any changes applying from September 2023.

1.2 Review

The People Directorate 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 and/or 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 on certain modules. When considering such an option Faculties and/or Directorates should take into account the workload implications for the team as a whole.

2.2 Recruitment and Selection Procedure

It should be noted that it is now a legal requirement for a contract of work to be in place in advance of the AL undertaking any employment activity.

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 (normally with current Recruitment and Selection training) 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. A written reference should follow and be logged with the People Directorate Operations team by e-mailing pdteam-operations@brookes.ac.uk.
  • 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 unsuitable to work in the position offered due to 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.
  • In an emergency situation, where an AL’s employment is required at short-notice for whatever reason (e.g. unforeseen staff illness), it may be possible to exceptionally fast-track elements of the recruitment process as outlined above, but only in consultation with the People Directorate.
  • 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 full role profile for an Associate Lecture predominantly involves teaching-related activity.

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.
  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); to attend any mandatory training; 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 Advising.
  2. Research and Knowledge Exchange.
  3. Module Leadership: while Associate Lecturers are not normally be expected to act as Module Leaders, 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 Leader. 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.
  • Total 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) = “Simple Basic” hourly rate
  • This Simple Basic hourly rate of pay is then multiplied by 2.5 to give the Comprehensive teaching rate.

See the current pay spine.

Hourly rateSimple Basic Rate*Comprehensive Rate*
Scale point 30 hourly rate£19.23£48.07
Scale point 31 hourly rate£19.80£49.51

* Rates as at 1 September 2023 – please note that the rate has the potential to change every academic year depending on the pay negotiations. 

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:Hours
Formal scheduled teaching36.0 hours
Preparation and scholarship, assessment setting and moderation, including re-sits24.0 hours
**(based on marking single module (3000 words) for approximately 16 students (c 0.75 hours per script)

12.0 hours

Pastoral guidance4.5 hours
Sub total76.5 hours
Holiday pay 18.46%14.12 hours
Total hours90.62 hours
Multiplier per formal scheduled teaching hour
(90.62 hours divided by 36)

For further illustration, the Comprehensive Rate breaks down as follows:

Formal scheduled teaching hour1.000 hours
Preparation and scholarship, assessment setting, and moderation, including re-sits0.667 hours
Marking0.333 hours
Pastoral guidance0.125 hours
Sub total2.125 hours
Holiday pay (plus 18.46%) 
Total (paid) hours per scheduled hour2.5 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. For example, a contract for 12 hours at the Comprehensive Rate includes payment for 4 hours of marking

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 scriptMinutes per scriptMultiplier
Up to 1,000 words30.0.500
1,001 to 1,500 words350.583
1,501 to 3,000 words450.750


Example: marking 24 assignments of 1,000 words gives marking time of 12 hours.

If the Comprehensive Rate payment includes 4 hours for marking, then a further 8 hours can be claimed at the Basic Rate. If the Comprehensive Rate payment includes more than 12 hours, there is no additional payment, but no reduction in payment.

For longer assignments (over 3000 words) refer to Appendix 1.

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)

Hourly rateSimple Basic RateAnnual Leave at 18.46% per hourTotal
Scale point 30 hourly rates£19.23£3.55 £22.78
Scale point 31 hourly rates£19.80£3.66£23.46

Last reviewed: September 2023

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).

  • Induction and induction related training (up to a maximum of 2 hours)
  • Training undertaken directly relevant to role and authorised by line manager
  • Marking absent colleagues’ scripts
  • Second marking
  • Short-course delivery
  • Exam supervision
  • Lecture attendance allowance
  • Extra administration
  • Flexible and distance learning preparation
  • Meetings other than programme meetings, e.g. departmental meetings
  • Student placement visits
  • Module leadership duties (see section 4 above)
  • Membership of faculty boards and committees
  • Attendance at Examination Boards
  • Applicant open days and visit days
  • Departmental away days
  • Research and/or knowledge exchange activities

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 each month for approval by the Faculty and forwarded to the People Directorate Operations team for payment. It is very important that claims are submitted in a timely fashion to facilitate processing and preferably, claims should be submitted on a calendar month basis and no later than three months after any work undertaken. See the Associate Lecturers claims process.

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. The actual rate of sick pay is determined by looking back at the average earnings in the 12 weeks immediately preceding sickness.

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 employment1 month’s full pay and (after 4 months’ service),
2 months’ half-pay
During 2nd year of employment3 months’ full pay and 3 months’ half-pay
During 3rd year of employment4 months’ full pay and 4 months’ half-pay
After 3 years of employment6 months’ full pay and 6 months’ half-pay


5.6 Other benefits (pro-rota)

  • Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
  • Maternity and Adoption Leave - to qualify for Brookes' full Occupational Maternity/Adoption pay an employee must:
  • have 26 weeks' continuous service with the University at the beginning of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC); and
  • have gross average earnings at least equal to the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) in the last eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of their qualifying week (i.e. 15th week before EWC). (Go to Gov.UK to search for current LEL rate). Note: periods of unpaid leave prior to maternity leave may affect maternity pay. Further information can be obtained from the People Directorate Operations team or Payroll
  • Paternity Leave.
  • Shared Parental Leave.
  • Occupational Sick Pay.

Alternatively and wholly at the discretion of the University, a 12 month average period may be used for the calculation of sick, Maternity and Adoption pay, if the normal 12 week period can be demonstrably shown to be disproportionately and unrepresentative of average earnings.

6. Induction and Training and Development

6.1 Induction

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.

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 of 2 hours per mentee per year). 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 teaching observation planning/feedback sheet accessed.
  • 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 website.

6.2 Training and development

All ALs are eligible to potentially claim for up to two hours at the basic rate (see section 5.2) for agreed relevant training/developmental activity. The exact nature of this activity will be determined locally between the AL and their line manager and is available annually.

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, two hours of engagement with the EXPLORE course provided by OCAED are free (paid for by AL’s Faculty/Directorate) but any additional interaction with the course would need to be voluntary and paid for. 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 role profile which best reflects their future duties, skills and experience and potential. Fractional appointments will provide a career progression route for teaching staff. Potential pathways to teaching fellow (or equivalent), lecturer and senior lecturer are illustrated in Appendix 3.

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).

If the AL converts to a fractional appointment as Lecturer, the member of staff will undertake the roles and responsibilities expected of their grade, and an appropriate timetable will be agreed with their line manager.

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 the People Directorate as being potentially eligible, they should provide a written explanation to the AL for that decision. The explanation needs to be framed around the Faculty/Directorate’s business plan/strategic objectives and/or the longer-term viability of the course(s) on which the AL 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. These are the only grounds by which a transfer can be declined.

There is a presumption of transfer for eligible ALs, so any written explanation by the Faculty/Directorate should be objective and where possible, supported by data/information (e.g. student numbers, evidence of module suspension, strategy documents clearly articulating the intent to reduce teaching in certain subjects, copies of business plans and accompanying narrative to demonstrate the clear link between them and the intent to decrease AL teaching commitment, etc.).

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. They will need to do this within ten working days of the decision not to offer a transfer. The AL has the right to be represented by a colleague or trade union representative during this process.

The Associate Dean Strategy and Development 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.

9. Redundancy

Where the University needs to introduce staffing changes resulting in ALs being formally at risk of redundancy, those affected ALs will be consulted with on the same terms as other substantively employed staff with the same rights and entitlements including but not limited to the right of representation and where entitled, redundancy payments.