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Fixed Term and Part-time workers

What is a Fixed Term Worker?
A fixed term employee is someone who is employed under a contract which contains a specific start and end date or who is employed:-

  • to carry out a specific task or project or
  • the continuity of whose contract is contingent on a particular event such as the availability of continued funding from an external source.

How many fixed term contracts can an Employer offer?
If an employee whose employment commenced prior to the 14 July 2003 accrues three years of continuous service as a fixed term employee, when that employee’s contract comes up for renewal on or after the 14 July 2003, the employee can only be offered one further fixed-term contract.

Can the employer, following three years of continuous service as a fixed term employee, offer an employee a further fixed term contract for more than a year?
This renewal on a further fixed-term basis cannot be for more than one year. After this, if the employer wishes the employee to continue, it must be with a contract of indefinite duration.

Can the combined total of fixed term contracts exceed four years?
No - if an employee who commenced employment on a fixed-term basis on or after 14 July 2003 has had two or more fixed term contracts, the combined duration of the contracts shall not exceed four years. After this, if the employer wishes the employee to continue, it must be with a contract of indefinite duration.

If the employee is willing to work on if offered further fixed term contracts can these rules be waived?
No - Employees cannot remain on a series of fixed-term contract indefinitely.

What is a part-time employee?
A part-time employee is someone who works less hours than a comparable full time employee doing the same type of work.

How should a part-time employee be treated compared to a full time worker?
A part-time employee shall not be treated less favourably than a comparable full time employee in respect of any condition of employment.