Fixed-term employees

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

These regulations confer the following rights:

• a right for fixed-term employees (note: ‘employees’, not ‘workers’) not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee, unless objectively justified; this does not require like-for-like pro rata entitlements – provided the fixed-term employee’s contractual rights are, as a whole, at least as favourable as the permanent employee’s an objective justification is deemed to be made

• an obligation on employers to advertise permanent vacancies in such a way as is reasonably likely to come to the fixed-term employee’s attention

• a right to receive a written statement of reasons for treatment, if the employee believes less favourable treatment has occurred

• a provision that any dismissal for seeking to enforce these rights is automatically unfair

• a provision that a fixed-term contract will be converted to a permanent contract upon the next renewal/extension if the employee has been employed on a fixed-term contract for over four years (unless the employer can demonstrate an objective justification for continued fixed-term employment). This period can be varied by collective agreement and the employee can demand a statement that the employment has converted to a permanent basis

• the rights also extend to pay and pensions.

The regulations also abolished the ability to enter into redundancy payment waiver agreements.

Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Under these regulations agency workers working in a booking for less than three months are entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay for periods of sickness absence, subject to the usual qualification criteria in relation to qualifying days.

For more details of the Agency Workers Regulations, see article 31.