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Fixed term employment not an easy fix

By Kiren Narayanan - 12 May 2017

Fixed term employment agreements have been around for a while now. However, people are still unsure about rules around them. Sometimes employers think a fixed term employment agreement might be a good way to test someone's suitability.  Or they may be unsure about whether they need someone long term and want the flexibility of renewing a contract only if required.

To have a genuine fixed term employment agreement, there must be a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for ending the employment. The Courts have held that testing an employee's suitability is not considered a "genuine reason" for ending employment. They have also held that a series of "fixed term" agreements that roll over could give the employee an expectation that the employment will continue and deem the employee a permanent employee.

There are several requirements for a fixed term employment agreement to be effective. If these are not complied with, the employee may be deemed to be a permanent employee. This means that ending the employment on the basis that the employment was on a fixed term basis may give rise to a personal grievance claim.

If you're in a fix over your fixed term contracts, contact our employment law specialists today.


Andrew Steele

Kiren Narayanan


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