Fixed-Term Contracts

The Fixed Term Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 requires employers to:

  • Ensure that terms and conditions for fixed terms employees are no less favourable than those applying to comparable permanent employees unless there is objective justification;
  • Ensure service qualification periods are the same for fixed term and comparable permanent employees;
  • Ensure redundancy waivers are not entered into, extended or renewed after 1 October 2002;
  • Limit successive fixed term contracts to a maximum of four years (from 1 July 2002) unless their use can be objectively justified or alternative arrangements are agreed collectively;
  • Inform fixed term employees of permanent vacancies in the organisation;
    Extend statutory notice periods and statutory sick pay to all fixed term employees.
  • Where they can be objectively justified, fixed term contracts remain a useful means to allow the employer to match manpower resources to specific funding and projects, plan accurately over the mid term, react effectively to changing circumstances and minimise exposure to risks and costs.

Robust mechanisms for establishment control and vacancy monitoring are now in place within the Central Academic Bodies and central activities of the University of London (the "central University"), requiring that Managers be aware that:

  • The use of any individual fixed-term contract must be objectively justified;
  • That fixed-term employees with two or more years service are entitled to a redundancy payment;
  • That the obtaining of funding for fixed-term contracts for two or more years includes the appropriate funding of any redundancy payment.

In addition, Managers must ensure that:

  • As the expiry date of the fixed-term contract approaches, they seek additional funding for the continuation of the contract and/or ensure that appropriate action is taken to redeploy the employee in the event that the fixed-term contract cannot be extended;
  • That fixed-term employment is converted to open-ended employment wherever the objective justification for the fixed-term status is removed.

Managers are asked to ensure that they contact the HR Office for additional help and advice on redeployment wherever it is the case that the employment is unlikely to be extended or where it otherwise appears necessary to terminate the employee’s contract.

Please note that fixed-term contracts may be terminated by the standard notice period applicable to the individual’s terms and conditions of service unless otherwise stated in the individual’s contract and pay in lieu of notice will be applicable if notice is not given.

All fixed-term contracts should be offered on the basis that the employment may be terminated, during the fixed-term, by a specified notice period as it may otherwise be the case that the employee becomes entitled to payment for the remainder of their fixed-term contract.

Further details regarding the Fixed-Term Work (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 is also available on Business Link.