End of fixed-term contract procedure
Fixed-term contract redundancy procedure for staff approaching the scheduled end of a fixed-term appointment
This procedure applies to all academic-related and support staff on fixed-term contracts which are due to be terminated at the expected end date and who, by that date, will have been in continuous employment at the University for one year or more. Termination during probation and the premature termination of fixed-term contracts are covered by separate procedures.
The University’s responsibilities towards fixed-term employees are governed by specific legislation, including the Fixed-Term Employees Regulations, and, in the case of research staff, who form the great majority of fixed-term employees, by the terms of the University's Code of Practice for the Employment and Career Development of Research Staff.
The non-renewal of a fixed-term contract is a dismissal equivalent in law to redundancy, if the reason for non-renewal is that the work is to cease or diminish. In the case of employees engaged on fixed-term contracts this would normally occur because funding is discontinued or because the reason for the employment, such as a project, has ended.
If the fixed-term contract employee indicates that he or she would like to remain at the University if a suitable position were available, the employing department must explore alternatives to dismissal. These are normally either:
- a new or extended contract. If a further contract is offered, care should be taken to ensure that the correct type of contract is used. It should not simply be assumed that a further fixed-term contract is appropriate. An open-ended or permanent contract should be considered. Departments should consult contract types.
- redeployment to another post at the University. See the redeployment section of the procedures below.
It is recognised, however, that a further contract, contract extension or redeployment may not be possible and that there may be no alternative but to dismiss the employee at the end of the current contract.
In handling the end of fixed-term contracts, departments should abide by the following procedure and keep records of all associated actions, discussions and consultations. Template letters, which may also act as checklists to ensure that the correct steps have been taken, are available for use and are identified in this document as (Pro-forma letter).
Information should be sent to, and consultation undertaken with, all affected employees, including those temporarily absent or on sick or parental leave (including maternity leave). In respect of a post where the post holder is a pregnant woman (who has protected status under legislation) or departments must consult Sector Personnel Officers before taking any action.
In situations where a number of employees doing similar work have fixed-term contracts that are due to end at the same or similar times and it is probable that some, but not all, of the employees could be retained, it is essential that the department ensure that there is a fair procedure for selecting who is retained and who is made redundant. In these cases Sector Personnel Officers should be consulted and departments should follow the guidance on identifying the potential redundancy pool and selection from the pool in the Redundancy Procedures.
If the employee wishes, he or she has the right to be accompanied to meetings concerning redundancy by a trade union representative or by a colleague from within the University.
Fixed-term contract redundancy procedure
The five stages to follow in the termination of fixed-term contracts are:
You may follow the procedure step by step or look up specific stages using the above links. Alternatively the whole process is available as a printable guide in PDF2 End of fixed-term contract procedure (76kb)