I've just had my new contract for a part-time research post come over, and it doesn't contain the number of hours required, rather just a generic 'hours reasonably expected of this post'. Is this how it is in academia? Did your contract contain number of hours?
you need to agree a working pattern - but again, it depends on your level.
I work FT on a notional 35h per week - truth is - to deliver teaching, research and admin, and ensure that my group practices within health and safety confines related to our field, I put in probably double this. Partly because my job is my hobby (how sad, I am a data analyst at heart and could crunch whichever database came my way for entertainment) but also because the safety aspects freaks me out (being responsible for others etc). Fair enough - anyone else - the same.
Some of my PT colleagues, on a 0.6FTE basis, do the same, except that they have a late start in the morning around 10.30 / 11am, and are meant to leave earlier on a Friday. Again, they go above and beyond, as everyone else, to deliver.
An then, I have other (senior) PT colleagues who just do the hours. Out of the contracted days and times, they do not work. They do not pick up pastoral work. They do not pick up emergency calls. They have (once) let a research staff stranded in a foreign country on field trip when they were their emergency link with our institution. They rely on us FTimers to "be there" to pick up the slack. And this pisses me off.
And finally, we have my clinical researcher, PT, who, in the middle of a busy clinic, stopped halfway through the patients we were seeing, because "her time was up" - and went home.
So I would suggest that you work out what is the expectation in your unit, and your responsibilities. From my colleague, the ones doing well in term of being an appreciated colleague and not being a pushover are the ones doing a late morning start - but they are fortunate to be in a post with a lot of flexibility in when they come in...
Mine have always had 'hours reasonably expected' or similar, though I also had one that specified the number of hours of lectures (40 per year) as well as that. I don't think it is unusual. But I know a colleague who insisted her part-time contract include wording about recognising she would not be expected to work whenever anyone wanted. So she didn't set down a limit on the number of hours, but she did have something she could rely on when people assumed she could always come in for a meeting whenever.
Don't know about part time posts, but I have had several full time research contracts and they were all along the lines of 'hours reasonably expected'. I think it's pretty normal in academia, but for a part time post you probably want to get some boundaries put on it! I would use the % of a FTE as the starting point, then agree some days or part-days that you will definitely not be available.
Agree with Tonic: your contract should state a % FTE and then, if you have fixed days or hours you definitely don't want to work (e.g., 0.8 FTE might specify no Fridays, or no days past 3:30pm), get it written in.
Fixed days are easier to agree with HoD than fixed hours, but if you don't have the days/hours specified by contract, it leaves you vulnerable when you refuse to work them.
Many places don't have contracted hours for academic staff, so it's not unusual to omit a number of hours per week.
I don't know what kind of job OP means. If OP means the job is for research assistant (or associate), then in my workplace, we get a % Full time equivalent. FTE is not defined, though. So 50% FTE could be 20 hrs or 35 hrs a week, who knows, there are no written rules for what FTE means for the research staff.
Fixed days are easier to agree with HoD than fixed hours
That depends on the subject area.
Fixed days are often much easier for part-time staff who teach, for timetabling reasons.
But for a research post? It depends a great deal on the nature of the post. A part-time social scientist, for example, would simply have to produce a reasonable volume of high quality outputs and be there for appropriate research meetings - the hours/days worked would be irrelevant. Meanwhile a lab based post (I think geeka is in a lab?) would be quite different.
If it is a research assistant post paid from external funding then I would expect the contract to state the hours per week you are expected to work as the funding will have been calculated on an fte/hours basis.