GTA Employment at Kent
As a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), it is important to remember that you hold a special position as both an employee of the University as well as a research student. Your employment is governed by your contract and issues related to your employment should be discussed with your line manager. This would normally be the Head of School (or their nominee) rather than your research degree supervisor. Your school should confirm who will be your line manager. If you have any questions related to your contract of employment, please check the HR website at: www.kent.ac.uk/hr-staffinformation/index.html. If you are unable to find the answer to your question here, Kent’s HR team will be content to provide you with further advice. firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions or concerns related to your research degree programme should be directed to your supervisory team, postgraduate administrator or School Director of Graduate Studies (with responsibility for research programmes). These contacts can be found on-line here for your information. Please refer to the Graduate and Researcher College’s Postgraduate Research Student Handbook as well as any specific information provided to you by your academic school or centre.
- GTA Offer Letter and Terms and Conditions
Your offer of your Graduate Teaching Assistantship is detailed in the offer letter sent to you via Docusign along with a Terms and Conditions document, which should be signed electronically and returned to the University. Please note that the following information is based on the standard route for GTAs at Kent. You may have special provision or different circumstances which differ from what is outlined below. Anything of this nature would be communicated to you, in writing, before the award commences. Your Terms and Conditions document includes both the details of your scholarship award and also the conditions of service as a GTA. As a reminder, the
Terms and Conditions document provides the contractual information relating to:
- Length of your scholarship
- Teaching Commitment
- Pension entitlement
- University Regulations
- Sick Leave
- Annual Leave
- Parental Leave
- Submission of academic work
- Termination of award
- Right to Work Check
In order to ensure prompt payment, you will be required to provide evidence of your right to work in the UK in person to the HR team in Canterbury; details of what will be required can be found in your GTA offer letter.
- GTA Financial Package
The GTA financial package covers:
- Tuition fees normally paid at the Home/EU rate
- Salary (paid at point 24 of the University’s Single Pay Spine)
The sum of B (Salary) and C (Stipend) above will always equal the UK Research Council Doctoral Stipend Level. The total value of the annual package (salary plus stipend) remains unchanged during the academic year, but will be revised to the new Research Council UK Doctoral rate at the start of each new academic year.
The GTA scholarship provides you with payment of your tuition fees for each year of your minimum registration period, normally at the UK/EU fees rate for a maximum of three years. In certain circumstances, the award may be offered at the overseas tuition fee rate. This would be confirmed to eligible GTAs in writing within their offer letter. Payment of tuition fees for GTAs is handled by the University so you do not need to do anything unless you are an overseas candidate who still has to pay the difference between the Home/EU and overseas rate. This payment can be made by going online: https://epay.kent.ac.uk/epay/ or by contacting the University’s Income Office at: email@example.com
The salary element is calculated using salary point 24 on the University’s single pay spine; details of your payment can be found in your contract of employment. Salaries for all staff are normally reviewed each year in August and the stipend element will be reduced so that the overall amount paid to you will be as stated in the original award letter. Your salary will be paid monthly in arrears; payments are made on the last working day of each calendar month. The payment date will also vary in December due to the University’s closure period. The calendar for salary payments can be found here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/finance-staff/services/payrollandpensions/payroll.html?tab=processing-schedule
Your first payment will be made in October (unless you have been informed in writing otherwise). Graduate Teaching Assistants are paid in arrears for the previous month, rather than in advance, as with certain other awards. The stipend is paid in whole months only, and is not adjusted pro rata. Normally, students funded for three years of study will receive 36 payments in total and you will be paid your scholarship on the last Friday of the month. Each academic year, payments are adjusted based on the most recent Research Council doctoral stipend level referenced in the above web link.
- Hours of work
You will be contracted to 240 hours in a 12 month period, including 40 hours of paid annual leave. This equates to a nominal seven hours per week, which will be scheduled by the School to reflect operational requirements. Your exact pattern of working will be agreed with your line manager. The number of hours may vary from term to term but the number of working hours shall be reasonable in the context of your academic commitments. Whilst we expect that you will complete your annual hours within each 12 month period, we recognise that some flexibility is required and you can carry a maximum of 40 working hours from one year into the next.
Your working time includes all duties as set out in the job description, including teaching, demonstrating, preparation and marking. In addition, work-related training (though not the Associate Fellowship Scheme – this course is offered free to all GTAs) will also count towards your working time. If you are a student visa holder, your total working hours for ALL employment must be in accordance with the limits set out in UKVI regulations. It is your responsibility to keep a record of all hours that you have worked for the University in any given year. You must immediately inform your line manager if you think that you could exceed this requirement at any time.
Tier 4 Visa Holders
If you hold a Tier 4 visa you must not exceed the weekly hours limited by the conditions of your visa. Your weekly hour limitation under a Tier 4 visa is calculated on a rolling 7 day period not a calendar week (Monday to Sunday). If you believe you are at risk of exceeding the restriction of your visa, you must notify your line manager immediately and ensure you do not exceed the limit imposed by your visa. Research degrees do not have defined terms and therefore you cannot exceed the limitations at any point in the year. All paid work and volunteering counts towards your weekly limitation and work spread across multiple employers is still calculated together and subject to the same maximum limitation.
Your working time will be scheduled by your school for each term, and it is your responsibility to understand and adhere to the local arrangements for recording your time worked. If you have any queries or concerns about this, you should approach your School Administration Manager.
6. Sickness absence
In the event that you are unable to carry out your GTA duties specified in your appointment letter due to illness you should report any sickness to your manager in accordance with the University’s Sickness Absence Policy (which may be amended from time to time). It is your responsibility to ensure that you adhere to reporting arrangements as detailed in the policy and any local operational arrangements. If you do not adhere to the local reporting arrangements any absence may be deemed to be unauthorised, for which you may not receive occupational sick pay and for which disciplinary action may be taken. This policy only applies to the employment element of the GTA scheme and not any stipend funding.
If you suspend your studies due to illness you may be entitled to receive sick pay in accordance with the University’s Policy. Your period of absence will need to be certified with a medical ‘fit note’ and the level and length of sick pay will be dependent upon your length of service.
- Family friendly policies (maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental leave)
GTAs who meet the eligibility criteria are able to apply for paid University maternity leave, adoption leave and paternity leave and shared parental leave on the same basis, pro rata, as full-time staff. This relates to the employment part of the GTA agreement only – separate arrangements apply for the stipend. Information on these policies can be found on the Human Resources pages https://www.kent.ac.uk/hr-staffinformation/policies/family/index.html .
- Annual leave
GTAs at Kent receive 40 hours paid leave per year, to be taken as agreed with your line manager, normally outside of the taught terms. The University’s holiday year runs between 01 January and 31 December and the University expects that members of staff will take their annual leave entitlement during the leave year.
At the start of each leave year the line manager (or designate) will calculate the pro rata holiday entitlement, bank holiday and closure day entitlements using the online calculator. This will confirm an annual amount of bookable leave based on your scheduled working pattern for the year ahead. The University shall be entitled to deduct from any payment due to you an equivalent to the amount of holidays taken over and above your entitlement as set out by your line manager. Further details about the part-time calculation of annual leave can be found on the Human Resources pages for annual leave.
- Difficult work situations
The University of Kent is committed to developing a working and learning culture and environment which encompasses dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration for all. Whilst we all want every member of staff to have a positive experience during their time with the University, we recognise that things can go wrong sometimes. To ensure that any issues are managed appropriately, sensitively and in line with legislation, the University has a number of policies in place to support difficult situations at work.
Further information can be found on the Human Resources pages https://www.kent.ac.uk/hr-staffinformation/index.html .
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I update to which account my scholarship is paid?
If you need to change where your scholarship stipend is paid, you can do so by emailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need to change where your salary is paid, you will need to contact the Pay Office at email@example.com.
- How can I obtain a letter confirming I am in receipt of a GTA award?
If you email GTA@kent.ac.uk, we can produce a Scholarship status letter for you on headed paper. This will be accepted by most rental agencies for applications and renewals as proof of income.
- Will I still receive my scholarship if I intermit?
If you request an intermission from study, your scholarship stipend would be ‘paused’ for the duration you are away and reinstated on your return.
Intermission from study is calculated to the nearest whole month, therefore, if you returned mid-month your scholarship would be reinstated the following month. You would then receive a funding extension equalling the duration you were away. This ensures you receive your full 36 month scholarship and salary entitlements.
Generally, your salary would also be suspended.
Depending on the reason for intermission, you may be entitled to sick leave. Sick leave provision is detailed in section A9 (salary) and B5 (stipend) of the GTA Terms and Conditions document.
Once you are due to return to study, it is helpful if you contact GTA@kent.ac.uk to inform both the Scholarships Office and HR department of your intention to return to study.
- I want to change to Part Time study, will my award be affected?
Typically, Part time students are funded at 50% of the standard rate for their award. This applies to both the stipend and salary elements of your award. However, as a Part Time student, you would be funded over a longer period, as detailed in the GTA Terms and Conditions document (B2.2).
- I need to withdraw from my studies, what happens with the Graduate Teaching Assistantship?
Your scholarship would be withdrawn as of the day you officially terminate your studies. Notifying us that you wish to withdraw will not automatically terminate your award. A date of the termination of your studies and therefore your scholarship is agreed between yourself and the University.
- If I submit my thesis early, will my scholarship be affected?
Yes, your scholarship would end on the day you submit your thesis for examination. If you do not intend to end your scholarship, you should not submit your thesis until you are ready.
- I am experiencing financial difficulty, who can I talk to?
If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can contact our Financial Aid team at firstname.lastname@example.org in the Students Advice Centre who will do everything possible to support you to continue your studies, or make recommendations for intermission from study. If there are issues you would like to raise with the University in relation to this, feedback can also be sent to the Graduate and Researcher College (email@example.com)
- I think I am being asked to undertake an unreasonable workload, what should I do?
You should raise any concerns about your workload with your line manager or your School GTA Coordinator. This will allow you to have a discussion about how the workload can be managed including the identification of additional support and guidance. If you remain dissatisfied with the response then you can raise any further concerns with your School-level GTA representative or the Graduate and Researcher College (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- I have other questions about my GTA award?
Please contact GTA@kent.ac.uk if you have any further queries relating to your GTA scholarship.