Fixed-term contracts

Article reviewed: 2013/01/27 | Next review due: 2014/08/15

A fixed term contract ends at a specified date. It may be for the employment of some one for a specific project or task, or may be used to temporarily replace an absent employee with the contract ending at the return of the replaced employee.

The contract ends upon a specified date and neither party is required to give notice of departure, and there can be no complaints of damage as the date of expiry was pre-determined. However, if the contract ends before the scheduled date, the employee may claim damages for breach of contract, however there are often specific clauses included whereby it is understood that if a contract ends prematurely due for certain reasons, the employer is not liable for damages (e.g. if the project is finished early).

In conclusion:

  • If a contract is terminated before the expiration date, the employee may claim a breach of contract abuse and obtain damages, unless the contract contains a specific clause to that effect.
  • If the contract is terminated before the expiration date, the employee may claim unfair dismissal and redundancy (wrongful termination) if he or she has worked continuously for the employer.
  • If the contract expires, there can be no claim of breach of contract.

Employees on fixed-term contracts are entitled to equal treatment with permanent employees under The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations Act of 2002.

Continuous employment would be considered as: A contract that has been renewed at the same company with no time gaps, however in certain circumstances, periods of inactivity between periods of work are included in the calculation. An example would be temporary cessation of activity, such as seasonal employees who only work part of the year (therefore, the employee ceased work because of seasonal timing, not because of his lack of working).

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