What does the law on fixed term workers mean in practice?

  • Employees appointed to fixed term contracts are treated no less favourably than comparable employees on open ended contracts – (i.e.) that their core terms and conditions are no less favourable;
  • Fixed term employees who have their contracts renewed/extended after four years (based on continuity of employment from 10th July 2002) should be made open-ended – unless the College can give objective justification for it continuing as a fixed term contract.
  • Employees on fixed term contracts will be entitled to the same employment protection arrangements as staff employed on open ended contracts.

What might be an "objective justification" for my fixed term contract to be extended beyond four years?

  • To allow a specific project that requires less than six months to be completed and has not met the original deadline
  • If appointed to a different fixed term position that has been openly advertised
  • For a secondment or career development opportunity

Who is not covered by the legislation?

Agency staff and casual workers are not covered by the regulations.

What happens when my fixed contract comes to an end?

Before the contract ends you should be contacted by your HR representative about consultation, an opportunity to discuss the reasons that your contract may end and any measures that could be taken to avoid redundancy. You will not get any specific notice of the end date of your contract as that is already set out in your contract and any extensions you may have received.

If you are on an open-ended  contract  that  has no fixed end date but is supported by fixed term funding, consultation will start at an earlier date so that you are given the appropriate contractual notice.

What is a redundancy situation?

 A redundancy situation arises:

  • Where there is no further need for the type of work undertaken by the member of staff (i.e. the research activity or project comes to an end).
  • Where there is a diminishing need for the skills required of the member of staff.
  • Suitable alternative work is unavailable within the College.

The expiration of a FTC will normally result in redundancy in that there is no longer a requirement for the work being undertaken by a member of staff. 

Am I eligible for an internal recruitment scheme (a priortity when applying for a position within Imperial)?

If your post is at risk of being made redundant, you will have access to and support for obtaining  another position within the College. Roles can fall into one of two categories:

1. Suitable alternative positions —  work that is basically in the same capacity and on similar terms

2. Alternative positions — work that is available but may be on different terms or within a different capacity

If the recruiting manager agrees that a role falls into the category of being a suitable alternative to your current job, you will be eligible for priority consideration  in line with your skills, experience and capabilities.

You will need to complete a redeployment form to help identify your key skills, experience and abilities and set out what type of work you would consider suitable or alternative employment for you.  You should be prepared to be proactive in seeking out vacant employment opportunities.

Will there be compensation if I have been working for a certain number of years before leaving?

Yes, if you have worked at Imperial for two years or more continuously, you will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. Your continuous service may be made up of service in one job or a number of jobs. You can use the Government's redundancy calculator to work out how much you might be entitled to. The payment will be made to you tax free (up to £30,000) normally with your final salary payment or within 14 days of your end date at the latest. Your HR contact will work out and tell you your entitlement anyway.

Am I entitled to a redundancy payment if I only work a few hours a week?

It does not matter how many hours a week you work. If you have worked for the College for a continuous period of two years or more, you are entitled to a redundancy payment. If your weekly pay is less than the current weekly limit for statutory redundancy pay per week, then your redundancy payment will be based on your actual weekly pay.

If I get another job before the redundancy date, should I resign?

First discuss your situation with your HR contact. If you resign and leave before the redundancy date, this may impact on your entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment.

What do I need to do to get suitable alternative employment?

Currently, the redeployment process works as follows:

* You should sign up for job alerts so that you receive notification of current vacancies that match your preferences

* You indicate your key skills experience and abilities by completing a redeployment form. This helps provide your HR contact with information they will need to assist you in identifying suitable positions

* As you are at risk of redundancy, if you meet the minimum essential requirements for the role, your application  will  result in a priority interview. Should this result in you demonstrating that you fully meet the requirements for the job,  you should normally be appointed to that position

* You may be offered a 4 week trial period in a post to allow both sides to confirm that it is indeed a suitable alternative position

 You need to be pro-active in looking for roles that might be suitable for  you.

I am worried of stigma attached to being at risk of redundancy. Do HR have to contact the recruiting department to let them know my situation?

HR will support you in the process and if you do not want to be identified as a redeployee then  let your contact know this. As an organisation with a high number of staff employed on fixed term contracts, redundancy is a familiar and normal process particularly in the Academic and Research community.  As a College we would like to retain top talent and internal redeployment helps to do this. 

How am I supposed to find another job when I am busy working until the end of my contract?

While under notice of redundancy, you are entitled to reasonable time off with pay during working hours to seek alternative work. You will need to get agreement with this from your manager prior to taking time off.

I am on an open-ended contract with fixed funding; will I be notified when the funding expires?

No, HR will not inform those on open-ended contracts that their funding has been extended/what the end date is as this stops when they become open-ended.  You will be consulted with in line with our procedures at the point when the funding is due to expire.

Why am I being consulted with? I know that a funding extension application has been submitted.

Managers are advised to consult even when they are awaiting the outcome of a grant application that may extend the FTC. It is better to properly consult with you and then extend at the last minute than not to have fulfilled our obligations if an extension does not come through.

I haven’t taken all my annual leave what happens to it?

You would normally be expected to take the annual leave you are entitled to up to the leaving date before you go but if this is not possible you will be paid for any that is outstanding.  You should discuss this with HR/Line Manager prior to your end date. If you have been redeployed within the organisation to a different department, you may be expected to take any accrued annual leave before the transfer date. This should also be discussed with your HR representative prior to the move.