Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

Teaching Assistants' Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions People & OD often receive from our Teaching Assistants, with answers and where to go for more information.  If you have questions about hiring or paying a TA, please see our TA Administrators FAQs instead.

Working as a TA FAQs

How do I apply to be a TA?

TA jobs are rarely advertised on the University's main job page ( but you may wish to sign up for an alert.  

For information on applying for TA roles in the Faculty of Humanities see their webpage:

How do I confirm my right to work to P&OD?

Conducting right to work checks

Change in right to work checks for British and Irish nationals from 1 October 2022

The Home Office have announced that the adjustments to right to work checks, introduced on 30 March 2020 will end on 30 September 2022. 

This means that, from 1 October 2022, right to work checks for British and Irish nationals must be in person (manual) checks (see below).

Further information can be found on GOV.UK at:

From 6 April 2022 right to work checks are changing

From 6 April Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders will evidence their right to work using the Home Office online service only, presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable.

This means that, from 6 April, we will no longer be able to accept or check a physical BRP, BRC or FWP as valid proof of right to work, even if it shows a later expiry date. 

Who carries out right to work checks?

While the majority of checks are carried out in People and OD Operations as part of the recruitment process, staff across the University may need to carry out checks for example on casual workers, graduate teaching assistants, or visitors.

People and OD may also ask you to check the right to work of a member of staff if this needs to be performed in-person at a location outside Manchester where you and the person are both based. 

Which workers need to have their right to work checked?

All workers engaged by the University. It is essential that assumptions are not made about the nationality of staff based on their name, accent, appearance, or current employment.

Note that we do not check right to work of agency-employed staff; the agency is responsible for this check as the employer.  We do not need to check the eligibility to work of the genuinely self-employed i.e. those people with a unique tax reference (UTR) who are providing Operations to the University and providing an invoice to be paid by the University.

When should checks be carried out?

Checks must always be carried out:

  • prior to employment for all staff
  • when a worker on a visa is changing jobs (to ensure no restrictions exist that prevent them doing so)
  • when a worker whose visa or other work authorisation is expiring
  • at the point when a worker is granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

If it is not practical to make a physical check of their documents in advance of their first day, you must ensure that original documents are brought to People and OD Operations on Day One before they commence work.

How do I -

- carry out a manual check?

  • Accept original documents only
  • Carry out the check with the person physically present:
  1. check photos are consistent with the person’s appearance
  2. check photos and dates of birth are consistent across all documents
  3. check for expiry dates 
  4. check for restrictions on work
  5. where applicable, check reasons for name changes (such as marriage), that these are supported by documentation, and photocopy that additional documentation
  • Take a copy of the original document
  • Certify (sign) the copy by writing the words ‘The date on which this right to work check was made was’ and include the date together with your signature and name in full.
  • Provide the copy to People and OD Operations so that it can be stored on their personnel file 

- carry out an online check?

  • Carry out the check with the person physically present or on a video call:
  1. access the service 'View a job applicant's right to work details'
  2. enter the 'share code' provided to you by the individual
  3. enter their date of birth
  4. check photos are consistent with the person’s appearance
  5. check they have the right to work
  • Print or save the 'profile' page confirming the individual's right to work. This is the page that includes the individual’s photo and date on which the check was conducted. You will have the option of printing the profile or saving it as a PDF or HTML file
  • Provide the copy to People and OD Operations so that it can be stored on their personnel file 

Which documents can I accept as proof of right to work?

The Home Office maintains a list of the only documents we can accept. It is divided into List A (documents which show a continuous right to remain) and List B (documents which show a temporary right to remain). The lists are available in Annex A of this document.

Since 1 July 2021 an EEA passport or national identity card is no longer a valid document to prove the individual's right to work.  For information on how individuals can prove their right to work see Prove your right to work to an employer - GOV.UK (

How do I know the documents presented are genuine?

The range of documents that could be presented is wide, so some guidance on their format, content, and things to look out for is available here.

How do I determine someone is eligible to work from their documentation?

There is an easy to use tool to check whether someone has the right to work based on the documentation presented here and if you are at all uncertain contact your People and OD Operations.

How do I supply the documents to People and OD Operations

If you have undertaken a check involving hard copies that need to be provided to People and ODOperations, these should be brought over to the second floor of Simon building in person whenever possible, rather than going in the internal mail.  People and OD Services Reception will take receipt.  If you are not based on the Manchester campus contact your People and OD Operations team to agree the best way to send them securely.

Online Right to Work Check Guide

More detailed guidance on how to undertake an online right to work check can be found here.

How many hours do I need to work as a TA?

This will vary according to the module.  You should discuss fully with the person who is offering you the hours how many they expect you to work and when, and key dates such as marking deadlines, to make sure that you are happy you can deliver these around your studies and any visa restrictions you may have.  Ask whether attendance is required at any residential or similar sessions.  Keep an open dialogue and don't be afraid to raise concerns.

Note that if you are enrolled as a PGR student at the University, your Faculty may have a policy on the maximum hours they will assign you for teaching-related duties, in order to protect your study time.  The TA Administrators for your School will be able to advise you on this.

Your contract will guarantee a number of hours to be paid each week over a term; this is the minimum amount of work you are being offered and are agreeing to, although you and your manager may agree between you that more will be worked some weeks and less another (provided this does not conflict with visa restrictions).  Payment will still be paid monthly, in arrears, based on the weekly agreed hours. 

If you are offered and accept any additional hours above those in your contract, they will be paid after they have been approved within the School and communicated to HR, in the next available payroll. 

Can I work as a TA if I am in the UK on a student visa?

Most student visas allow the holder to work, but with a limit on how many hours can be worked each week.   If you are restricted from working this will be detailed on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card that you were given by the UK Home Office. See our Visa pages for more information on what these restrictions mean and when you can work.  It is your personal responsibility to make sure you do not work outside of the restrictions, or your visa may be revoked.

Can I work as a TA if I am in the UK on a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker Visa?

If you are employed under a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa, you are not eligible to work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, as the salary and skill level do not meet Home Office criteria associated with your visa.

Can I work remotely as a Teaching Assistant?

There may be opportunities for some or all of your work to be delivered remotely, but this will depend on the requirements of the course you are supporting.  Speak to the person offering you work to find out more.

Please note that if you are allowed to work remotely, you must not do so outside the UK.

How is my annual leave entitlement calculated?

The paid leave entitlement amounts to 33 days holiday plus eight bank holidays prorata per year, the leave year being the period from 1 October to 30 September.  Leave is accrued at the rate of one hour for every 5.35 hours worked. All leave will be taken at the end of the semester in which it is accrued.

Any additional hours worked on top of your planned and agreed hours in your contracts, will also accrue leave; these must be reported to HR on a monthly teaching assistant adjustment hours timesheet by your Teaching Assistant Administrator.

Pro rata allowances for special leave will apply based on a full-time allowance of one week a year.  For these purposes a full-time working week will be regarded as 35 hours.  You may sometimes be required in exceptional circumstances to work on the statutory Bank Holidays (other than those at Christmas, New Year and Easter), in which case you will be given reasonable notice and time off in lieu.

What are the sickness absence provisions for TAs?

Under the University’s local agreement with the University and College Union (UCU) on the terms and conditions governing the employment of Teaching Assistants (TAs), the sick pay provisions are as follows: 

1. If you are absent from work due to sickness or injury you will be eligible to receive sick pay in accordance with the terms and conditions handbook (StaffNet).

2. In the event of short-term absence due to illness you should attempt to arrange a for a suitably qualified colleague to undertake your teaching on an exchange or swap basis subject to obtaining verbal approval of your discipline head in order that contractual hours of work can still be fulfilled, and, in these circumstances, the absence will not be treated as a period of sickness absence.

3. The payment of sick pay is subject to your compliance with the University's procedures for the notification and verification of sickness absence, which are set out in the Sickness Policy and failure to comply with these procedures may also disqualify you from receiving SSP. Any payment made to you under this provision will include any statutory sick pay (SSP) due from the University. The University sick pay will be reduced by the amount of any social security benefits or damages from a third party recoverable by you (whether or not recovered) in respect of your illness or injury.

I'm concerned about the work I'm being asked to do, or the amount. Who should I speak to?

In the first instance you should speak with the teaching staff you are working for and who is giving you the work.  You can also raise concerns with the TA Administrators for your School.

I have concerns about the behaviour of a member of staff or a student, can I report them confidentially?

If you have concerns about a colleague or staff member, that you don't feel able to address with the individual directly, you can speak with the HR Partner for your School, or alternately if you want to report behaviour you have witnessed anonymously, you can use the Report and Support tool to do so.

Understanding your TA Pay FAQs

When will I receive my pay?

TAs are paid on the penultimate working day of the month.  You can view the full list of paydates here.  TAs are paid via the 'end-month' payroll.

How will my defined hours in my contract be paid? When will any additional hours I accept be paid?

Your agreed hours in your appointment email will be split equally between the payrolls that fall in the time period you are engaged; i.e. Semester 1, Semester 2, or specific start and end dates in the email.  Any additional hours will be paid in the next available payroll after the School submits these to HR, subject to the relevant payroll deadlines.  Please see this explainer for full details.

When will I receive my payslip?

You can view your payslip online via the MyView portal.  It will appear a day or two before payday, which for TAs is the penultimate working day of the month.  You can view the full list of paydates here.  TAs are paid via the 'end-month' payroll.

What is USS on my payslip? Why has this deduction been taken from my pay?

USS is the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the pensions scheme for which Teaching Assistants are eligible.

Staff at the University are automatically enrolled in a relevant pension scheme when they join the University, and periodically re-enrolled if they have opted out of the scheme, in line with government rules.  Please see the Pensions FAQs for more information.

Why have I been charged Income Tax when my earnings for the year have not reached the Personal Annual Allowance?

The University is required to deduct tax monthly from all employees.  The amount deducted is based on the employee's tax code, which is provided by HMRC, the UK Government's Revenues and Customs Department.  The tax code tells us what each individual's tax-free personal allowance is for the year.  However this amount is divided into monthly installments, and any earnings above that monthly amount in a given month will be taxed.  This is a HMRC requirement and not the employer's decision.  At the end of the year, if your earnings have not exceeded your total annual personal allowance, or you have paid too much tax, you are able to be refunded by HMRC.   

How do I check my Tax Code is correct?

You can view your tax code on your online payslip via MyView.  Your tax code appears in the third row of the header.  Your code is provided to us by HMRC; if it ever changes on your payslip, this is due to HMRC providing us with a new code for you.  We cannot change it.

If you think that your tax code is not correct, you need to discuss this directly with HMRC via your local tax office, as they will not discuss your case with payroll.  When you ring them, you will need your payroll reference (your employee ID) which is on the top row of your payslip, and the University's tax office reference, which is on the second row of your payslip.

I've paid too much National Insurance because of being paid arrears of pay, can I have a refund?

Unfortunately, National Insurance (NI) deductions cannot be refunded by us.  We are required to calculate them based on how much was paid, when payment was made (rather than when the work was undertaken).  It is crucial therefore that your School approves and informs HR in a timely way, taking account of payroll deadlines, of any additional payments to be made within a given month.  If arrears are allowed to build you will be liable to pay more NI. 


If you believe you have genuinely overpaid NI, for a reason other than the above, you should contact HMRC to see if they will give you a refund. 

Why do I pay UK tax and NI if I am not a UK national and will be returning overseas after my studies?

The University as an employer is required to deduct tax and NI from all staff unless their tax code tells us otherwise.  If you are leaving the UK permanently you should inform HMRC who will work out if you are entitled to a refund of tax.

IT Access - Graduate Teaching Assistants

New GTAs

Before you can obtain IT Access, you must have:

You will then receive confirmation from the GTA email address. Once you have received confirmation it has been set up:

In order to self-register (or reset the password) for their IT account they just need to follow the link below. They will be asked to confirm their surname, date of birth and ID number:                                                     

This will then take them to their username, initial password and email address.   If there are any problems, the IT helpdesk telephone number is: 0161 306 5544

Please allow at least 24 hours before attempting to gain access.  If they require a staff ID card, they should visit People & OD Operations with photographic evidence as ID at least 24 hours after receipt of this e-mail, or on their first day.

*Please be aware that access or a card will not be available before the start date requested 

Accessing Wi-Fi -

All GTAs are given module access to Blackboard via their PG team within the schools

Blackboard -

Current GTAs

All current students should already have IT access via their courses. If any are encountering problems it is more likely due to IT issues which P&OD are unable to fix. Any student suffering IT problems should contact IT via the Support Portal, call the team on 0161 306 5544 or go to the IT Support Hub in Kilburn Building which is situated on the ground floor on the left hand side just after the entrance.

If you are encountering Blackboard issues, you should contact your eLearning Support team who will be able to help you.

If course information is missing from your list in Blackboard, you may need to contact your lecturer or course administrator in the first instance. However, please note that courses may take up to 24 hours to appear in your list.

Why haven't I been paid?

If you haven't received any payment at all, this is usually because:

  • Your School hasn't told People & Organisational Development (P&OD) about you working for them - have you had a letter of appointment from P&OD?  If not, speak to your School TA Administrator.
  • You haven't given us your bank details - have you completed and returned the confirmation of appointment form that was linked to your letter of appointment?
  • You have given us incorrect bank details - log onto the MyView portal where you can see the bank account that you provided on the form, is this correct?  Have you checked the right bank account?  If the details look wrong contact the Payroll team urgently for advice.
  • This is your first job at the University, and P&OD have not yet received proof of your right to work - have you submitted your documents and made an appointment to have these checked by video or in person? Contact P&OD if not.
  • All of the above has been done, but not in time for the most recent payroll deadline.  You will be paid the following month.


I think I have been underpaid

If you think you have been underpaid, firstly you should check your payslip on MyView.

Check the payments that have been made to you (see the left-hand column of your payslip).  An amount showing in negative in this column will be a deduction in return for a benefit, such as a payment to your pension scheme or for childcare vouchers, or season ticket loans for travel.  The total amount payroll have been instructed to pay you, before tax, is at the bottom of the column as 'Total Payment' (this is also known as Gross Pay).  If the amount to be paid to you is not as you were expecting, you should speak to your local TA Admin to discuss whether the hours you have worked have been supplied to P&OD are correct and were supplied in time for the payroll deadline. 

  • Your contract will have guaranteed a number of hours to be paid each week over a term; you and your manager may agree between you that more will be worked some weeks and less another, but payment will still be paid monthly, in arrears, based on the weekly hours in your contract. 
  • If you are offered and accept any additional hours above those in your contract, they will be paid after they have been approved within the School and communicated to HR, in the next available payroll. 

If your hours to be paid look correct, next check the deductions that have been made from your pay (see the right-hand column of your payslip), for example, tax, national insurance, student loans or court-ordered deductions.  These may account for a difference in your pay to what you were expecting.  See the FAQs above on Tax, NI and tax codes for more information if you think these amounts are incorrect. 

Your gross pay, minus deductions of tax etc, is your Net Payment i.e. the amount that goes into your bank.  If the unlikley event the amount that has gone into your bank does not match this amount contact the Payroll team.

Note that the amounts shown in the cumulative columns on your payslip show the totals paid and deducted to date from the start of the tax year (April of each year) and are for your reference only.  

I've been overpaid, what should I do?

You should notify People & Organisational Development (P&OD) at as soon as possible so we can confirm that you have been correctly paid.  If you have been paid too much, this will be deducted from your future payments.  If no further payments are due, you will be contacted by the Finance team to provide you with information on how to repay.

Can I apply for Maternity Leave

To apply for maternity leave and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) to be paid via the University staff must submit Form ML1 - Notice of Intention to take Maternity Leave along with their MATB1 Maternity Certificate (issued by the midwife after the 20-week scan) by the Qualifying Week (i.e., 15th week before the EWC which is the start of the week containing the due date)

To qualify for SMP staff must have earned on average at least £123 a week during the qualifying period (8 weeks up to and including the qualifying week (i.e.,15th week before the EWC which is the start of the week containing the due date)

For staff who qualify for SMP, a letter will be sent confirming their entitlements to leave and SMP and they will receive their payments via the University payroll at the end of each month.

Staff who don’t qualify for SMP, a letter will be sent confirming their entitlements to leave without pay along with a completed SMP1 form explaining why we will not be paying their SMP.  They will need this form along with our letter to claim maternity allowance from their local Jobcentre. 

Things to remember…

The earliest maternity leave can start is 11 weeks before baby is due and the latest start is the due date

Maternity leave will be automatically triggered if the expectant mother is absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy after the beginning of the 4th week before baby is due, or if they give birth earlier than specified on the ML1

The earliest they can return to work is two weeks after the baby is born.