Employees' rights

Employers must not treat workers on fixed-term contracts less favourably than permanent employees doing the same or largely the same job, unless the employer can show that there is a good business reason to do so.

This is known as ‘objective justification’.

Example Sam is a fixed-term employee on a 3-month contract. A permanent employee doing the same kind of job has a company car, but Sam’s employer may choose to not offer him one for such a short period if the cost is too high.

Employers must also ensure that fixed-term employees get:

  • the same pay and conditions as permanent staff
  • the same or equivalent benefits package
  • information about permanent vacancies in the organisation
  • protection against redundancy or dismissal

However, they’re only entitled to the same rights as permanent staff working for the same employer, and not an associated employer’s organisation.

Anyone who’s worked continually for the same employer for 2 years or more has the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.

Workplace disputes

Workers on fixed-term contracts should try to sort out any concerns they have with their manager.

If they’re still not satisfied, they can ask their employer for a written statement explaining their treatment, or complain using the employer’s grievance procedure.

Their final option is to make a claim to an employment tribunal.