How is a fixed-term employee defined?
Can an underperforming employee on a fixed-term contract be dismissed before the end of the fixed term?
Are employees employed on a contract lasting less than three months still denied certain rights?
Can an employee be employed indefinitely on fixed-term contracts?
At what point does an employee who has been employed on a series of successive fixed-term contracts become a permanent employee?
Can an employer treat fixed-term employees less favourably than it treats permanent employees?
In ensuring no less favourable treatment between fixed-term and comparable permanent employees can an employer balance a less favourable condition against a more favourable one?
If a fixed-term position becomes permanent, should the current post-holder be offered the permanent position, or should the position be advertised first?
Can an employer require a fixed-term employee to sign a redundancy waiver?
If a redundant employee accepts alternative work for a fixed term, what are his or her rights when that fixed term comes to an end?
Can a person on a fixed-term contract make any claims on the employer if the contract is terminated?
Can an employee claim unfair dismissal where a contract that was entered into for the completion of a specific task comes to an end?
Will the dismissal of an employee who is taken on temporarily to fill in for a pregnant woman be fair?
Given that the expiry of a fixed-term contract constitutes dismissal, what will usually be a fair reason for dismissal?
Where an individual has been employed on a 12-month fixed-term contract to cover maternity leave, can the employer terminate the contract early if the woman on maternity leave decides to return early?
If a contract can be terminated by notice can it be a fixed-term contract?
Are employees on fixed-term contracts entitled to statutory notice of their dismissal?
When a fixed-term employee is offered a permanent contract following on immediately from the fixed-term period, when does his or her period of continuous service start?
Where a fixed-term employee's contract is due to terminate while she is on maternity leave, does the employer have any obligation to re-employ her at the end of her maternity leave?
Can an employer reject an applicant for a maternity leave cover role on the basis that the applicant is herself pregnant and will not be able to work for the full cover period?
The nature of a fixed-term contract is usually that both
employer and employee agree as part of the contract that it will continue for a
fixed period, or until an agreed task or project is completed, or until a
specified event occurs, for example the return to work of an employee on
maternity leave. Thus, any early termination by either party will be in breach
of contract. The only exception to this would be in the case of gross
misconduct on the part of the employee, which would entitle the employer to terminate
the contract without notice. Otherwise, a termination in breach of contract
would give the employee the right to claim damages equivalent to the pay and
benefits that he or she would have received up to the time that the contract
could have been lawfully terminated.
If, however, the fixed-term contract has been drafted to
include a notice clause, ie authority for the employer to terminate the
contract on notice before the expiry of the fixed term, then termination on
notice by reason of the employee's underperformance will not be in breach of
contract. It is not unlawful to include notice clauses in fixed-term contracts.
Quite apart from any potential claim for breach of contract,
there may be an unfair dismissal claim from the employee if, at the time the
early termination of the contract takes effect, he or she has gained a minimum
of one year's continuous service (or two years' continuous service if his or her employment begins on or after 6 April 2012), whether on one fixed-term contract or on two
or more successive contracts. Although unsatisfactory performance is a
potentially fair reason for dismissal, the employer would also have to show
that the underperformance was sufficient in all the circumstances to justify
dismissal and that a fair procedure had been followed. If the
employer was unable to satisfy an employment tribunal on these matters, the
dismissal would be unfair.
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