Legislation overview

The main Acts and Regulations covering workers on fixed-term contracts are:

  • The Employment Act 2002
  • The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2034) which implement the provisions of the Fixed-term Work Directive (1999/70/EC) into UK law
  • The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 ( SI 2008/2776).

Fixed-term contracts are also affected by EU law. For example the EU Directive 1999/70/EC and the Framework Agreement on fixed-term work. Although fixed-term contracts work slightly differently in different member states there are some basic rights which apply throughout the EU and many reported cases arise concerning the rights of fixed term workers.

Q: What is the definition of fixed-term contracts?

Q: What rights do fixed-term employees have?

Q: Are any employees exempt from the fixed-term employees regulations?

Q: Does an employer have to pay fixed-term employees exactly the same rate and benefits as permanent employees?

Q: How can an employee be a fixed-term employee if there is a provision for notice in the contract?

Q: Can fixed-term employees be made redundant and does an employer have to make redundancy payments equivalent to those payable to permanent employees when a fixed-term contract expires?

Q: Should employers count employees whose fixed-term contracts are coming to an end for the purposes of collective redundancy consultation?

Q: Can fixed-term employees demand to join the company pension scheme?

Q: What remedies does a fixed-term employee have for infringement of their rights?

Q: Is it still possible to employ people on a series of fixed-term contracts rather than offer them a permanent contract?

Q: What procedure should an employer follow when a fixed-term contract is not being renewed to avoid unfair dismissal claims?

Q: What happens if an employer allows a fixed-term contract to expire and the employee continues working past the specified date?

Q: Once a fixed-term contract converts into a permanent contract do the terms and conditions have to be exactly the same?

Q: Are any future developments expected in the area of fixed-term contracts and fixed-term employees?

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