Employers often get themselves into trouble by hiring someone as a fixed term employee, when in the eyes of the law they are actually a permanent employee. This means the obligations on the employer on termination are significantly different. If you haven’t got it right, a disgruntled employee may be able to bring a Personal Grievance claim for unjustified dismissal at the end of their fixed term.
So what do you need for an employee to be fixed term?
There are range of factors and each case is fact specific, however the agreement must explain why the role is fixed term and specify the when and how the term will end. The reasons must be genuine and reasonable. Fixed terms cannot be used to trial employees - the Employment Relations Authority will see through this and will determine what the actual employment relationship is. Don’t forget, even if the employee is fixed term, you still need to give your employee reasonable notice of termination at the end of the fixed term.
Fixed term agreements can be tricky and it’s important to get it right at the start or otherwise the employer could be facing a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. Get legal advice before engaging a fixed term employee and avoid a potentially costly pitfall.
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