An extract from another interesting article from the team at "ACAS Guide". Click on the link to find our more or register for their regular updates:
Fixed Term Work
There are a number of employee/employer relationships which are now different from the traditional 9-5 job. A person's employment status will determine their rights and their employer's responsibilities.
People on a fixed term contract can be either an employee or worker, a fixed term employee may be:
a seasonal or casual person who has been taken on for a peak period
a specialist employee taken on for a project
covering for maternity leave.
Workers will not be on a fixed term contract if they:
have a contract with an agency rather than the company they are working for
are on a work experience placement as a student or trainee
are on a 'contract of apprenticeship'
are a member of the armed forces.
Fixed term contract are contracts that last for a specified time, or will end when a specified task or event has been completed.
Employers must not treat fixed term workers less favourably than permanent employees doing the same or a similar job.
Fixed term workers who work continually for the same employer for two years or more may have the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.
Contracts will normally end automatically when they reach the agreed end date.
Employees on a fixed term contract for four or more years may automatically become a permanent employee.
A fixed term contract terminates on a specified date or at the end of a particular project or a specific task, fixed term employees could be employed for seasonal work, casual employees taken on to cover a busy period or someone to cover for maternity leave.
Fixed term employees should get:
the same pay and conditions as permanent staff
the same or equivalent benefits
information regarding any permanent vacancies within the organisation
protection against unfavourable treatment.
A fixed term employee has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee. However, an employer may be able to objectively justify less favourably treatment in circumstances where they can show that they have a good business reason for doing so.
If an employee feels they have been treated less favourably they should ask for a written statement of reasons for the less favourable treatment from their employer first, however, if the matter remains unresolved they can submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal. Any claim to a tribunal should be made within three months of the date the less favourable treatment occurred.
End of a fixed term contract
When a fixed term contract ends on the agreed end date; the employer will normally not need to give notice. If the work ends after two years service the employee may be entitled to a redundancy payment, and will be entitled to the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.
If the work ends before the agreed end date and the contract allows the worker to be dismissed then the employer should give the appropriate notice period. Employers may be in breach of contract if they wish to end the contract and there is no provision to so in the contract of employment.
Any employee on a fixed term contract for four or more years may automatically become a permanent employee, unless the employer has a good business reason not to do so, or a collective agreement removes the right.
Holly Gregory Associates are providers of HR Consulting and Change Management Services. As HR Practitioners we have both the in-depth knowledge of the HR landscape (current and future HR strategy) but also experienced Change Agents, so you get two in one: HR Employer Services but also HR Project Management. We are known as trusted advisers, safe pair of hands, get in the dirty quickly, have cross sector knowledge, including both the UK and EMEA.
We will work with you to implement appropriate new policies and procedures in the best way possible. The HR Consultancy team provide support services for small business, who may not have the resources to employ a full time HR Manager and we cover, either the complete total HR Managed Services (Outsourcing HR) or bespoke elements of this e.g. Recruitment, Interim HR Managers, Disciplinary, Grievance, HR Operations and much more. We can also act on a retainer for a couple of days a month for some HR oversight, and advice.
Our Change Management services tend to be more project based, and we have specialist knowledge which comes in handy when managing, for example, TUPE Mergers, HMRC IR35 Private Sector Reforms, Restructuring, Organisation Design and Digital Transformation. We are tech savvy and have also helped companies decide which HR Software or HR Solution they need e.g. is it HRMS or HRIS?