Rights for Fixed Term Contract staff
If you are employed on a fixed term contract (this is a contract with an end date built in; or is specifically for the completion of a project) you gained some new employment rights from 1st. October 2002. An example would also be where you are employed on a Maternity Leave cover contract.
You are entitled to the same broad employment package as employees doing similar work to you with your Employer, but who are on permanent status. The basic position is that you should not lose out on your terms of employment when compared to someone on the permanent staff. This extends to pay and pensions. This does not mean a like for like comparison on every benefit, it is your overall package that is is taken into consideration; providing overall you are not being treated less favourably just because you are fixed term.
You are entitled to be informed about any permanent vacancies that arise with your Employer.
Also, you should not be made redundant just because you are on a fixed term contract. You can claim unfair dismissal and redundancy rights after two years service. Whilst you need two years service to complain of unfair dismissal or redundancy, there is no service required if you feel that your contract was not renewed because of pregnancy or maternity; health and safety issues; discrimination; whistleblowing and certain other protected rights.
Another one of the main rights is that after you have worked for 4 years on a fixed term contract, your employer must be able to justify extending it further. This would include having your contact renewed several times without a gap so that it adds up to four years.
It is possible to extend it where your Employer has a good business case. If not, your contract will become permanent. The 4 year rule started in July 2002.
Another change is that the Employer cannot now exclude your rights to claim redundancy pay once you have had 2 years continuous service. If the fixed term offer includes restrictions on redundancy or unfair dismissal, these will not be enforced by a tribunal. This applies to contracts agreed or amended after October 2002. You should not be made redundant just because you are on a fixed term contract.
If your Fixed Term Contract is not renewed, this is classed as a dismissal and you should receive a notice period (look at your contract for this). You may be protected against unfair dismissal and discrimination for example.
If you are on a fixed term contract (or you have been offered one), or you have been dismissed and feel you have been unfairly treated, contact our Advice Line for further help.