Postgraduate research students given 'worker' status

A new Code of Practice for Postgraduate research students (PGR) engaged in teaching will be implemented in September. As part of this Code, the University has confirmed ‘worker’ status for this group.


The move comes as a result of consultations between the University, Leeds University Union, the campus trades unions, current PGR students and academic representatives.  Worker status will give PGRs who take on teaching roles entitlement to paid holidays and, as part of the Code of Practice, they will also be paid for preparation time and have training to ensure they are equipped and confident to teach students to the high standards required. 

“We value highly the input our postgraduate research students make to our teaching,” says Paul Harrison, Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies. “Naturally, they are all research-active members of our community and work hard on behalf of our University to provide a vital contribution to our philosophy of research-led teaching.  This more formal recognition of their status is a further step towards our new Code of Practice stemming directly from our work together as part of our Partnership agreement.”

Josh Smith, Leeds University Union Education Officer, commented: “I’m absolutely delighted that the University have agreed with the Union through partnership, to recognise postgraduates who teach as workers. It will enhance their rights at work and make them feel more valued. Undergraduates should also feel reassured that the people helping to deliver their education are getting support and appropriate payment for their work. This process was initially started by a postgraduate student and demonstrates how students really can make huge changes to the way that the University is run, and make it a better place for everyone.”

Following implementation of the Code of Practice, further work will be carried out with Faculties and Schools to ensure consistency and further review working. practices.

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