As an employee working on a fixed-term contract, you have the same rights as a permanent employee when it comes to basic employment rights such as minimum wage, holiday entitlement, and a safe working environment. However, there are some differences in terms of your job security, notice period and entitlement to certain benefits.
In this article, we will explore the rights that fixed-term contract employees are entitled to and the protections that are in place to ensure that these rights are respected.
What is a fixed-term contract?
A fixed-term contract is a type of employment contract that has a specific end date. Unlike permanent contracts, fixed-term contracts are only valid for a set period of time. They are often used to cover temporary vacancies or to complete specific projects.
What rights do fixed-term contract employees have?
Fixed-term contract employees have the same basic employment rights as permanent employees. This includes the right to the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage, paid holiday entitlement, and protection against discrimination. They are also entitled to a safe working environment and should not be subjected to harassment or victimisation.
In addition to these basic rights, fixed-term contract employees are entitled to further protections under the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. These regulations require that fixed-term contract employees are not treated less favourably than permanent employees in terms of their terms and conditions of employment, employment opportunities, and access to benefits.
The regulations also require employers to inform fixed-term contract employees of any permanent job vacancies that become available during their contract and to give them the same access to training and career development opportunities as permanent employees.
What are the implications of the end of a fixed-term contract?
When a fixed-term contract comes to an end, the employee is entitled to a notice period. The length of the notice period will depend on the length of the contract and the terms of the contract.
If the employee has been employed for more than two years on a fixed-term contract, they may also be entitled to redundancy pay if their contract is not renewed. This will depend on the reasons for the non-renewal and whether or not the employee can be considered to have been unfairly dismissed.
What are the benefits of a fixed-term contract?
Although fixed-term contracts do not offer the same job security as permanent contracts, they do offer a degree of flexibility for both employers and employees. Fixed-term contracts can be a good option for employees who are looking for temporary work or who want to gain experience in a particular field.
They can also be a useful way for employers to manage their staffing needs, particularly if they have a temporary increase in demand or a specific project that needs to be completed.
In conclusion, fixed-term contracts can offer many benefits for both employers and employees. However, it is important to ensure that the rights of fixed-term contract employees are respected, and that they are not treated less favourably than permanent employees. By understanding your rights and seeking advice if you feel that these rights are being infringed upon, you can help to ensure that your experience as a fixed-term contract employee is a positive one.