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Definition of fixed term and standard contracts

In this agreement, “fixed-term contract” is defined in accordance with the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002; that is, as a contract of employment that, under its provisions determining how it will terminate in the normal course, will terminate:

  1. on the expiry of a specific term, or
  2. on the completion of a particular task, or
  3. on the occurrence or non-occurrence of any other specific event other than the attainment by the employee of any normal and bona fide retiring age in the establishment for an employee holding the position held by him or her.

A “standard contract” is a contract which is open-ended and is not for a fixed term, but any such contract may be lawfully terminated in various circumstances, including resignation, retirement, ill-health, gross misconduct and redundancy.

DTI reasons for objective justification

The DTI compliance guidance for employers advises that a renewal of a fixed-term contract after four years will be justified on objective grounds if it can be shown that the use

  • is to achieve a legitimate objective (for example a genuine business objective)
  • is necessary to achieve that objective
  • is an appropriate way to achieve that objective

Regulations and guidance

The Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) guidance on fixed-term and casual employment.
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