The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations came into force in October 2002.
The purpose of the legislation was to
limit the use of successive fixed term contracts (this aspect of the legislation will come into full effect in July 2006) and,
prevent fixed term employees being treated less favourably than similar permanent employees.
The University has welcomed these changes as an opportunity to move towards an employment environment where our reliance on fixed term contracts is greatly reduced. This is because we believe this will provide:
greater security of employment and a more positive working experience for all staff,
enhanced ability to recruit and retain top quality people,
and an opportunity for staff to develop a broader skill base, leading to a more highly skilled, flexible and effectively-managed workforce.
The University has reached formal agreements with both academic and support staff trade unions on how we will deal with the employment of staff on fixed term contracts and our subsequent Fixed term contracts procedure (Ordinance 26) goes significantly further than the legislation requires in a number of important respects. A key feature of the procedure is to establish the default position for appointments as permanent, with fixed term appointments being made or renewed only in line with carefully defined and limited criteria. Naturally, there will always be some situations where it is still most appropriate to use a fixed term contract. Where such circumstances do exist, the procedure seeks to provide fair, effective and transparent mechanisms by which decisions relating to the use of fixed term contracts can be taken and implemented.