Fixed Term Contracts
Contract and employment law
A fixed term contract is, as the name suggests, a contract that will expire either upon a fixed date; upon the completion of a particular task; or upon the occurrence (or non-occurrence) of a specific event. An employer can opt for a fixed-term employee rather than a permanent employee for many reasons. Three of the main reasons are:
a position of uncertain length, often due to funding uncertainty (contracts ordinarily in this instance are yearly rolling)
maternity or long-term sickness cover
If, upon expiry, an employer does not renew an employee’s fixed-term contract, this will amount to a dismissal. Therefore, the employee, if they have the required length of service, could bring an unfair dismissal claim and it would be for the employer to demonstrate the dismissal was for one of the potentially fair reasons set out in section 98 of the Employment Right Act 1996. Any such unfair dismissal claim would be assessed in the same manner as an unfair dismissal claim brought by a permanent employee.
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