Ask the panel

July 29, 2005

Worried about your employment, maternity, pension rights? Send your questions to The Times Higher advice panel.

I am an hourly paid lecturer working in a new university that is implementing the new pay framework. What are my rights within the agreement compared to full-time colleagues?

* Our panellist representing the University and Colleges Employers' Association is quite clear about your rights.

"The underpinning principle of the framework agreement is that of equal pay for work of equal value, and your rights are exactly the same as those of your full-time colleagues.

"Your role will be evaluated and graded, and your salary, terms and conditions set in accordance with this.

"The framework was agreed jointly by employers and all the unions working in higher education. If you have questions about how it will affect you, your human resources department should be able to advise you."

* The panellist from lecturers' union Natfhe provides more detail about evaluation and grading.

"Job evaluation will be used to place hourly paid roles in a new national grading structure. The minimum starting point for all hourly paid lecturers in new universities will be pay point 30 on the national pay spine. This is the first increment of grade Ac2 in the new pay structure - in other words, the first increment in the new lecturer pay scale," he says.

"This grade provides a minimum guaranteed pay increase of 16 per cent over the next five years, plus the additional benefit of annual pay awards, which are likely to provide an increase of a further 17 per cent over the five-year period.

"In total, the new pay deal should deliver a minimum of 33 per cent over the next five years," he says. "On appeal, some hourly paid lecturers will be upgraded to the senior lecturer grade," he adds.

"This grade provides a 19.4 per cent increase in the hourly rate, plus the opportunity to receive a further eight automatic increments, raising the hourly rate from £31.41 to £47.49 over the next eight years.

This represents an automatic increase of 51.9 per cent; staff will, in addition, receive an annual pay award."

A small number of hourly paid lecturers, however, may find that their role is "red circled". The Natfhe panellist says: "This means that the level of work required from their post is not sufficient at present to justify grading alongside lecturers in grade Ac2."

"In such circumstances, the lecturer will receive pay protection for four years. During this period, the employer should provide opportunities for hourly paid lecturers to develop their job to enable them to progress to the Ac2 grade."

* The Association of University Teachers panellist says: "Under the new pay framework, as an hourly paid lecturer you should be integrated into comprehensive pay scales, currently being constructed by your university in partnership with the trade unions.

"The agreement includes a series of 'academic role profiles', and your job should be matched to one of these."

He says that you should be matched at least to an Ac2 level profile, either for "teaching and scholarship" or for "teaching and research".

"Once your job has been matched to that profile, you should, under process of assimilation, be moved to a salary scale that applies to all such posts.

If you are not placed at the top of that scale, you will be entitled to annual increments until you reach the threshold, at which point you may further be considered for additional contribution increments," he says.

He explains that the framework agreement is accompanied by a further agreement that indicates where you will be placed on the new grade.

Assimilation will be to the pay point, on the new grade, that is at, or the nearest above, your current salary. To work out your salary from your hourly rate, a calculation must be made that assumes that your current rate is based on an additional hour and a half's pay for every hour of teaching.

This is to cover preparation, marking, and the like.

"For staff who are paid hourly, the framework agreement should mean that they are placed on an appropriate salary scale with incremental rises through to the contribution point threshold on the scale. They should receive payment pro rata to full-time colleagues undertaking similar work."

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