Fixed Term Contracts: what are they & how can they come to an end?

Fixed Term Contracts have always been popular with employers as a way to fill a ‘gap’ for a temporary period, but we also know they can be abused. Here we look at what a Fixed Term Contract actually is, what protections they have in law and what happens when they expire.

Fixed Term Contracts are given by employers on the basis that the contract will terminate at a future date when a specific ‘term’ expires – e.g. the completion of a particular project or task, the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific event.

People on Fixed Term contracts (FTC’s) will be PAYE Employees.

When you are employed on a Fixed Term Contract your written statement of terms and conditions (or your Contract of Employment) should state the date the contract is expected to end and the reason it is for a fixed-term period. FTC’s are covered by their own legislation called the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.

When you have 4 years continuous service you can ask your employer for a written statement confirming that you are now a permanent employee and are no longer employed on a Fixed Term Contract. If your employer fails to give you this statement (when you have requested it) or gives you a statement of reasons why you must remain on a FTC that you don’t agree with, you can state a grievance and possibly make a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

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