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Category Human Resources
Type Guideline
Approved by Original approving body and date unknown
Date Guideline Took Effect 1 October 2013
Last approved revision 9 November 2021
Sponsor Director of Human Resources
Responsible officer HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


Staff employed on casual agreements provide an important resource for the University. These Guidelines set out the procedures and requirements for the use of the University's Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement. They are designed to ensure that our casual staff are treated fairly and to ensure that all legal requirements of the University are met.

It is essential that staff who have delegated authority to employ casuals are aware of these guidelines and comply with them.

Organisational scope

These Guidelines apply to all areas of the University.


Casual Employment
Casual employment is defined as the employment of a person on an on call and as required basis without any commitment from either party to ongoing employment. This includes staff engaged for one-off situations. They do not have pre-determined hours of work and work arrangements are made on an hourly, daily or weekly basis as the employer's needs arise.

A casual employee is defined as an employee who:
  • is engaged to work only on an “as and when” required basis; and
  • is under no obligation to accept work offered; and
  • is employed for a discrete casual work engagement(s); and
  • has no expectation of ongoing or further casual work engagements being offered; and
  • is paid in full at the end of each completed casual work engagement (including holiday pay).

Only employees that fit this definition can be employed as casual employees for defined casual work engagements. Staff who do not fall within one of these definitions may not be employed as casual staff in the University. The University has collective and individual employment agreements that cover groups of staff falling under other definitions or who have greater work commitments than described above, and is legally obliged under the Employment Relations Act 2000 to offer these other agreements where they apply. See employment agreements here.

Independent Contractors vs Employees
The Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreements are designed only for use for workers engaged as employees of the University. Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, casual engagements are to be treated as employment, and will therefore attract deduction of PAYE tax. Where a Department wishes to engage an independent contractor they must: 1) first discuss the requirements for withholding tax with the Divisional Human Resources Manager; and 2) contact the Divisional Human Resources Manager to have an appropriate Contract For Services drawn up. In all cases a formal Contract For Services must be signed by both parties before work is commenced by a contractor.


1. Selection of Casual Employees

  1. Short periods of casual employment do not warrant press advertising, but limited advertising, for Short periods of casual employment do not warrant press advertising, but limited advertising, for example through Student Job Search or notice boards, and a modest selection process should be used where practicable. Proposed appointees must be legally entitled to work in New Zealand and it may be helpful for any advertising or additional information supplied to prospective casual employees to make this clear. Selection must be based on merit.
  2. Close relatives and close friends of staff members in the Department or Section concerned cannot be considered for appointments that have not been advertised. If a close relative or friend of a staff member is being considered, the staff member currently in the employ of the University should not justify the need for the appointment, select the appointee, or directly supervise them. Please consult your Human Resources Adviser if further information is needed.

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2. Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement

Use of the University's Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement will ensure that all legal requirements are met, if they are completed properly, and used in accordance with the procedures set out in these guidelines. The agreement must always be accompanied by Terms and Conditions and the Employment Relationship Problem Resolution Process document.

The Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement allows payments to be made by submitting casual timesheets/payments requests as required. In situations where only one payment is appropriate (agreed fee, lump sum, few days work), Section F “Single payment Request” can be used.

Further terms and conditions can be found on the employment agreement here.

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3. Time Limits and Renewals of Casual Employment

Please note that an agreement undertaken on this basis does not constitute a guarantee that work will be available to the employee during this period, and care should be taken that this is clearly understood.

  1. All casual agreements must contain a finish date. Employees must not under any circumstances be allowed to work beyond the finish date of their written agreement. Agreements must always be signed by both parties before work commences in the position.
  2. For advice on the appropriate type of agreement and appointment procedure, please contact your Divisional Human Resources Manager or Payroll Services.

  3. Separate Agreements Required for each Position
  4. Where staff work in more than one casual job, a separate Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement is required for each different casual job entered into, i.e. jobs in different Departments or at different pay rates or involving completely different types of work.

    Staff employed by the University as general or academic staff on a permanent or longer fixed-term basis, and who undertake casual work in a completely separate position to their normal job that does not compromise their existing work commitments, must also have a casual employment agreement completed, in addition to Casual Staff Timesheet/Payment Requests. Where this occurs the Department's HOD/Manager should first discuss this with the Divisional Human Resources Manager.

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4. Casual Staff Pay Rates

a. Rates from Established University Scales

The responsibility for offering casual staff employment agreements and pay rates has been devolved to Heads of Department, where the pay rate falls on the University's established pay scales. When deciding on a particular pay rate, please note the following points:

  1. Consult the appropriate University salary scales, notes and remuneration policy. Casual staff members must normally be paid on an hourly rate from the University's current scales. In the case of general staff positions paid on scale 1 the salary may not be above the midpoint of the appropriate level without prior approval from the Human Resources Division.
  2. Be aware of the precedent created by employing a casual staff member on a particular hourly rate. Should that person be successful in obtaining permanent employment of a similar nature at the University, they will expect a similar rate of pay. To avoid the problems that this may cause, the same remuneration policy that is used when employing permanent staff should be applied.

b. Holiday Pay

Staff employed on the Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement will receive 8% holiday pay as they go.

For budgetary purposes, allow for this 8% holiday pay and for 0.53% for the ACC Employer Levy. However, when advising casual staff of hourly rates, the holiday pay and ACC Employer Levy should not be included in the rate quoted.

c. Off Scale Special Rates or Agreed Fees

The University scales are to be used where there is a specific University rate which applies to the type of work to be performed. In special employment circumstances, special rates of pay not derived from the University pay scales may need to be used for one-off employment situations. Special rates may involve a fixed sum for the work, agreed fee, or a payment per session.

The use of off-scale special rates of pay and agreed fees requires Divisional approval. Divisional Heads may delegate their authority to one other person in the Divisional Office. In this event, the guidelines for the delegation should be clear including clarification over the circumstances that the Divisional Head should be consulted in a decision. Human Resources/Payroll Services are to be advised in writing of any such approved delegations.

In seeking Divisional approval for special rates, a full justification for the proposed rate must be provided, including an indication of the estimated time involved in completing the work, the rate the calculation is based upon and any market factors involved. The approved signatory should clearly sign each contract*.

In establishing agreed rates for single payments, it must be borne in mind that the final payment must not equate to less than the legal minimum wage. Please note: The University applies the adult minimum wage to all employees 16 years and over as defined by the New Zealand government.

All enquiries regarding casual pay rates should be made to the Divisional or School Office in the first instance and thereafter to the Human Resources Division or Payroll Services.

* Once an Agreed rate for special work has been established, (between the Division and Human Resources), it can then be used for future payments to that employee, and other employees doing the same job, without getting divisional approval each time. A copy of this agreed rate would be held by Human Resources/Payroll Services  

d. Public Holidays

In general, casual staff are not normally paid for Public holidays unless they have been required to work on the day concerned.

Payment will only be made for a Public Holiday not worked, where it falls on a day the employee would normally have worked under an established pattern of work.

Where the Employee is required to work on a Public Holiday, the Employee will be paid normal pay for time actually worked plus half as much again, if the day is a day the Employee would normally have worked under an established pattern of work, they will receive an alternative holiday as provided in the Holidays Act 2003.

If any of these situations apply and the staff member is to be paid for a Public Holiday, please indicate this clearly on the timesheet.

e. Hours of work

Work in excess of 37.5 hours per week, or 40 hours for trades type positions, should generally not be worked by casual staff, and may not be worked without prior authorisation by the Supervisor or Manager. Any work in excess of 37.5 hours per week carried out under a casual agreement will be paid at the ordinary hourly rate. It is important that casual staff are provided with the appropriate breaks.

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5. Time Sheets/Payment Requests

Actual working time should be recorded on individual timesheets/payment requests. Lunch breaks are not paid time but tea breaks are. Payroll Services must have received the original completed Standard Casual Staff Individual Employment Agreement, the completed IR330 and (if applicable) the completed Casual Staff Timesheet/Payment Request before they can process a casual payment.

a. Time sheet Submission Deadline

Each timesheet/payment request must be received by Payroll Services at the very latest of 12 noon on the Thursday prior to the end of a fortnightly pay period. Timesheets/payment requests received after this time, or where details have been incorrectly completed or insufficient information has been provided, will not be processed for the particular pay period.

For staff already employed in another position for which they are paid monthly, the deadlines for timesheets will differ. Please contact Payroll Services to ascertain the correct dates.

Pay will be direct credited to the staff member's bank account.

b. Signing Authority for Timesheets

Heads of Department may delegate authority for signing of timesheets to a Departmental Administrator, or other designated person in their Department. Where such a delegation is made, formal advice from the Head of Department must be forwarded to Payroll Services, stating the nature and extent of the delegation, along with the name, position and a sample signature of the designated person. The casual staff employment agreement form has a line for the details of an alternative person to be entered, who may authorise timesheets for that particular agreement (for example a research grant holder). Only staff members who hold formal delegated authority, may sign timesheets, and Heads of Department must ensure that all staff are aware of the limits of their authority, and that staff do not act outside of such limits.

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6. Legal Requirements

  1. All staff to whom the University offers employment, including casual staff, are required to have been:
    1. Given a written employment agreement
    2. Given a description of the work to be performed
    3. Advised of the reason for the fixed-term (which includes casual) nature of their appointment
    4. Advised of when their term of appointment will end
    5. Given an indication of where the work is to be performed
    6. Given an indication of the arrangements relating to the times the staff member is to work
    7. Informed of the wages payable
    8. Provided with a plain language explanation of the services available for the resolution of employment relationship problems
    9. Advised of their right to seek independent advice about the intended employment agreement
    10. Given a reasonable opportunity to seek that independent advice
    11. Given appropriate tea breaks

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NOTE: The University is required to keep copies of all documentation, including timesheets, for a period of seven years under the Employment Relations Act 2000. Human Resources/Payroll Services do keep the original timesheets for the required period under the Act.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Dan Wilson
HR Manager, Promotions & Remuneration
Tel +64 3 479 8092

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