What is a fixed term contract?
When time is limited
A fixed term contract is for a fixed term. That is the essential difference between it and the more normal open ended employment contract. The main legislation covering fixed term contracts is The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term) Act 2003. The ending of the fixed term contract may be stated to occur on a certain date, or when a specified task has been completed or when a specified event occurs. Employees on a fixed term contract have similar rights to workers on a standard open ended employment contract.
What are my rights under a fixed term employment contract?
You have the standard entitlement to annual leave, maternity leave and wage slips.
The employer is obliged to give you written notice of the expiry date.
You cannot receive different treatment than comparable permanent workers.
You must be informed of vacancies in the same way as other employees, so that you have an equal opportunity to gain a permanent position.
As far as is pracitable, you must be afforded training opportunities.
If your normal hours of work are less than 20% of comparable permanent employee, then you can be excluded from joining a pension scheme.
In relation to maternity leave, if your fixed term contract ends during the maternity leave period, the this is deemed to be the last day of maternity leave. This does not affect your Maternity benefit entitlement.
The unfair dismissal acts must be specifically excluded in a written contract, otherwise they apply.
If the contract is long enough (104 weeks continuously) then redundancy legislation applies.
Am I protected against penalisation?
Yes. Section 13 of The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term) Act 2003 prohibits the victimisation of employees who stand up for their legal rights.
For more on penalisation see
Can I be employed indefinitely on a series of fixed term contracts?
The short answer is no, with two exceptions involving 14th July 2003.
You may be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration, if your employer offers you a series of fixed term contracts for a period exceeding four years, unless the employer can justify the renewal on objective grounds .
What information must I receive if my employer intends to renew my fixed term contract?
You must be informed,in writing, of the objective grounds justifying the renewal and the failure to offer a contract of indefinite duration. This must be received by you by the date of renewal at the latest.
The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work ) Act 2003 Download here
See article on fixed term contract case here
Where can I find more information on short term, fixed term employment contracts?
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