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Is this what is known as a zero hours contract?

November 25, 2014


TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT for postgraduate Teaching Assistants at the University of Leeds


Allocation of work 

The University is under no obligation to provide you with work (or any additional work once it has done so). The University reserves the right in its absolute discretion to offer or refuse to offer work to you at any time and will not give any reasons for its decision. If you are offered work, your times of work will be as required by your Dean of Faculty/Head of School. Equally, you will be under no obligation to accept work or engagements which may be offered to you.


On the paper version of the same document (but not on the web version, which fails to mention the minor legality of the ‘contracts of employment’), you can find:


Contract, Status and Other Terms and Conditions

Your status at the University is that of Worker.  You have no further entitlements to benefits, payments or any other arrangements provided or operated by the University of Leeds whether for staff, contractors, officers or otherwise.


Is this what is known as a one way street?

The University of Leeds takes Health & Safety very seriously so these staff workers have to operate within the University’s Health and Safety Policy.  Many of these PG TAs do large amounts of marking (often compulsorily online) but what the above clause is telling them is that they are not entitled to ‘benefits’ such as a free eye test. We’re concerned that this represents a contradiction, and certainly does not paint the employer in a sympathetic light.

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