Fixed Term Contract Guidance

  • Oxford Brookes has various types of fixed term contracts:  Regular Fixed Term Contract (this includes variable hours FTC), Casual Contract, Casual Student Mode of Employment.  This guidance is for Regular Fixed term contracts and variable hours fixed term contracts and does not cover Casual or Casual Student Mode of Employment

    Regular and Variable Hours Fixed Term contracts

    A fixed term contract is a contract that has a defined end date that has been set out from the start of the contract. Staff on regular fixed term contracts at Oxford Brookes have the same terms and conditions as permanent members of staff, the only difference is that the contract is for a fixed period of time and has a defined end date.

    Reason for a fixed term contract

    A fixed term contract of employment may be required when the work needs to be performed for a set period of time such as a project, or it can be to cover a substantive employee who is absent from work for a defined period of time due to, for example, a career break, maternity/adoption/parental leave etc, or it could be fixed term as the funding for the post is limited.

    Reason for the fixed term ending

    The Employment Rights Act 1995 section 98, sets out 5 fair reasons for a contract ending.  For fixed term contracts that end due to the end date, depending on the situation, could end due to Redundancy or it could end due to Some Other Substantial Reason.

    Redundancy
    When a fixed term post ends because the post no longer exists and nobody will be performing that role in the future then the reason is likely to be redundancy.  In line with employment law a redundancy payment will be paid where one is due, it may not be due in all circumstances.  Staff should contact their Link HR Business Partnering Team for further details.

    Some Other Substantial Reason
    If the fixed term contract ends for a reason other than redundancy such as the substantive post holder returning from career break, maternity leave etc then this will not be a redundancy situation as the post will still exist and no redundancy payment will be due.

    4 months before the end of a Regular or Variable Hours Fixed Term Contract
    An automated email will be sent from the HRIS to the line manager and the employee to notify them that the contract will end in 4 months time.

    The Head of Department and the line manager should consult with their Link HR Business Partnering Team and consider, using objective justification, whether the fixed term contract will end or whether it will be extended or made permanent.  An employee who has four years or more of continuous service is entitled to a permanent contract subject to the continued availability of funds and ongoing work.

    Meeting with Employee
    The line manager must arrange to meet with the employee as soon as possible, after receiving the automated email from the HRIS as mentioned above, to discuss the fixed term contract and clarify whether the contract will be:

    • extended, 
    • made permanent provided they have been through full recruitment and selection, 
    • not extended 
    • whether it is unknown at this time if it will be extended or not 

    N.B. This meeting must not be delayed if the line manager is unsure whether the contract can be extended or not.  Where it is unknown whether the contract can be extended then the employee should be treated as if it is not being extended and given the opportunity to join the Redeployment List as detailed below, provided they meet qualifying criteria.

    The employee should be given reasonable notice of the meeting and offered the opportunity to bring a work colleague/union representative.  This meeting should be specifically about the fixed term contract and not be part of any other meeting such as a regular one to one management meeting.

    Contract Extended or Made Permanent
    Where the contract will be extended or made permanent then the line manager must seek financial agreement and authorisation through the normal route in their own Faculty/Directorate and should confirm this by completing the Fixed-term expiry notification form  with all required signatories and emailing it to HR Employee Services hrteam-employeeservices@brookes.ac.uk, and HR will confirm this in writing.  

    If the contract is to be made permanent then the employee should have been through open Recruitment and Selection when they were appointed to the original fixed term contract..  Where more than one member of staff is on a fixed term contract, even if the fixed term end date is in the future for some staff then if there is the opportunity to make the post permanent then there should be a competitive process amongst the fixed term staff for the post.  The successful person will be made permanent and the unsuccessful candidates will retain their fixed term contract.  If the successful fixed term person had a longer end date than the person with the closest fixed term end date then the closest fixed term end date can be extended to be the old fixed term end date that the successful person had.  

    The line manager is responsible for notifying HR Employee Services hrteam-employeeservices@brookes.ac.uk of these changes and any new changes to the fixed term end dates that result from this process.

    Contract Not Extended or Unknown Whether it Can be Extended
    Where the contract cannot be extended or it is unknown whether the contract can be extended at this point in time the Head of Department and Line Manager should establish whether similar posts will be shortly advertised within the same Directorate or Faculty which could be considered a reasonable alternative role for the employee that they could perform adequately given appropriate training.  Where an appropriate post is available or will become available before the end of the contract, the employee can be interviewed for the post, with a minimum of three panel members including someone from the HR Directorate and if successful the employee can be appointed to this role.  HR Employee Services should be notified of this opportunity as soon as possible.

    Where the contract cannot be extended or it is unknown whether the contract can be extended at this point in time and there are no suitable alternative roles available or due to become available then the line manager should advise the employee ASAP, provided they meet the criteria, they may join the redeployment list and provide them with details of this: Redeployment scheme.  The employee is responsible for being proactive and ensuring that they submit the Cover Sheet and their CV as detailed in the Redeployment scheme to the following email address hr-redeployment@brookes.ac.uk .  The Line Manager must also notify HR via the Redeployment email address hr-redeployment@brookes.ac.uk that the employee will be joining the redeployment list, provided they meet the joining criteria.

    Where it has not been possible to redeploy a member of staff the Line Manager should complete the Leaver Information Sheet for Managers  and the Fixed-term expiry notification form and submit them to HR Employee Services hrteam-employeeservices@brookes.ac.uk at least 1 month before the end of the fixed term contract.

    Redeployment
    If an employee joins the redeployment list and then the Faculty/Directorate decide to extend the fixed term contract or make it permanent then the employee will immediately be removed from the redeployment list and remain in their post.  The line manager must inform the HR Recruitment Team if this is the case using the redeployment email hr-redeployment@brookes.ac.uk.

    Appeal process
    Staff may appeal against a decision not to renew their contract and the reason. Appeals should be made in writing to the Director of Human Resources.  Staff may involve a union representative, friend or work colleague in this matter. The employee’s appeal will be heard by the Director/PVC Dean or a member of the University’s Senior Management Team where their line manager is already the Director/PVC Dean.