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A fixed term contract means you can always terminate on expiry- Right? …Wrong!

By June 5, 2024June 26th, 2024No Comments

The question of fixed term contracts is governed by the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) 2003.

There are a number of specific protections in the Act which are worthy of mention.

  1. Section 6 requires employers to be able to objectively justify any treatment of a fixed term employee which is less favourable than an equivalent permanent employee.
  2. Section 9 provides that where an employee has been in three years of continuous employment on a fixed contract, then the next fixed contract term cannot be longer than one year, unless there are objective reasons for justifying same, ie where there are two or more fixed term contracts they cannot exceed four years, otherwise the contract will be interpreted as a contact of indefinite duration.
  3. Section 10 provides that fixed term employees should be notified of any training opportunities and vacancies, to give the fixed term employee the opportunity to apply for any possible positions that may arise within the employer.

It is very important for employers when drafting fixed term contracts that they ensure to include a clause stating that  because the contract is a fixed term contract that the provisions of the Unfair Dismissals Act do not apply.

If however, a complaint is made to the WRC arising from the termination of a fixed term contract  and the WRC is of the opinion that the  termination arose for reasons other than the expiry of the contract, then it can invoke remedies available under the Act which includes compensation for up to two years salary.

For further information on any employment issues please contact Brendan Dillon on 01 2960666