Silouettes of people in a woman's hand

Wherever possible the College will appoint to open ended contracts. When an individual is issued with a fixed term contract (FTC) their contract will normally end automatically when they reach their agreed finishing point, so there is no need to give notice. After four years, staff with continuing fixed funding will normally be transferred to an open ended contract.

The College treats equality of opportunity seriously and has an equality framework to ensure equality of opportunity.  Implementation of the Fixed Term Worker guidance must be clear and transparent and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.

This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference.  For further details please refer to the full Fixed Term Worker Consultation guidance which can be downloaded from this page's sidebar.

"What do I need to do?"

Staff guidance

Magnifying glass with head and shoulders

Career. Take advantage of all of the resources available to you. Imperial offers a range of services designed to help you plan your career and acquire the skills and experience you need to succeed. For postdocs in particular, keep in mind that the academic job market is very competitive and to succeed, you will need to take charge of your own career path with advice and support from your manager and the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre.

Concept people around table Communicate with your line manager about your aspirations beyond your current fixed term post. Ask for their advice on how you can meet your career goals, especially if the post will end at the end of the current contract


Support on keyboard Support. The College understands that this may be a difficult time for you. Make yourself aware of the different ways to avoid redundancy (including redeployment within the College) and where you can go to get further support.



The Consultation process

1. Before Consultation 
  • HR will have received confirmation from your Department that your post is potentially at risk of redundancy before approaching you
  • Through the normal course of your working relationship with your line manager, you should be aware of the funding situation relating to your role
2. Consultation

HR will email you a letter kicking off the start of your 30 day (written) consultation period.  When you receive this you can:

  • Ask for support and advice from a Trade Union representative or work colleague if you would like this
  • Send questions to your manager/HR within five working days
  • Ask for a consultation meeting if you would like one (do this within five working days) or else say that you would prefer not to be consulted with if this is your preference
  • Take reasonable time off to look for alternative jobs (with permission) as is your right when at risk of redundancy
  • If you have not already secured an alternative role,  look for and highlight opportunities for internal redeployment* to HR
Your manager will:
  • Be prepared to discuss the expiration of your FTC or fixed funding with you and answer your questions
  • Clarify expectations if a funding extension is secured at the last minute. If extension means that the contract extends beyond four years, it may be changed to an open ended contract. Your manager may review and re-issue your job description if appropriate e.g., there may be a new requirement to generate funding. They should let you know the end date of the fixed funding if applicable
HR will:
  • Answer any queries you might have about redundancy payments
  • Explain the College’s redeployment process and provide support with finding alternative employment
  • Attend consultation meetings (as required) and write to confirm the discussions and outcomes
3. End of 30 Day Consultation Period

If no future funding has been secured and redeployment has not been possible, HR will email you a letter confirming that your fixed term Find way through maze concept contract will end and set out your leaving arrangements. If you are on fixed funding, the letter will be sent in time to give you your contractual notice period.

You have the right to appeal against a redundancy dismissal. Details of what to do will be included in the letter from HR. You will need to set out the grounds of your appeal and attend a formal hearing of your case.


*Redeployment is possible where the essential qualifications for suitable vacant posts of the same grade are met by someone at risk of redundancy. A trial period can be agreed to confirm that the post is indeed suitable.

Support for you

Your HR representative will assist you with advice and the administration of the consultation process.

  • Postdoc  Development Centre (mock Interviews, 1-2-1 coaching sessions, courses and more)
  • Skills analysis (LDC can give specialist advice)
  • Assistance with CV and application preparation/review and interview techniques.
  • Redundancy Payments (two years’ service qualifying period) – please see the Government's statutory redundancy information/calculator

The College has a range of Support Available for you to access.

Managers' guidance

Two men talking Regularly communicate with the member of staff about the status of their FTC or funding expiration and whether there is any chance of an extension or not. Offer them advice on how they can meet their career goals and don’t leave this until just before the end of their contract.


Concept people around table Consult. If the post will end at the end of the current contract or funding then engage in formal consultation with the person in conjunction with HR.


Support on keyboard Support. This may be a difficult time for your member of staff. Be aware of the different ways to avoid redundancy (including redeployment within the College) and where the individual can go to get further support.


The Consultation Process

1. Before Consultation

  Redundancy on postit HR reminds you of FTC expiration dates. You should determine for sure whether this is a redundancy situation and confirm to HR if the contract should be extended or will end.

2. Consultation

Infpormation concept HR will send the staff member a letter kicking off the start of their 30 day consultation period.

The member of staff may:
  • Ask for support and advice from a Trade Union representative or work colleague
  • Send questions to you/HR within five working days
  • Ask for a consultation meeting with you (which should normally take place within ten working days)
  • Ask for support to find an alternative role and be aware they are entitled to reasonable time off to look for work
HR will:
  • Answer any queries about redundancy payments
  • Offer support with the College’s redeployment* process
  • Attend (as required) and write to confirm discussions at any consultation meetings
3.  End of 30 day Consultation period

30 in stone HR reminds you of FTC expiration dates. You should determine for sure whether this is a redundancy situation and confirm to HR if the contract should be extended or will end.


*Redeployment is possible where the essential qualifications for suitable vacant posts of the same grade are met by someone at risk of redundancy. A trial period can be agreed to confirm that the post is indeed suitable.

Need to know more?  You can find the answers to common questions and further information in the FAQs below.

Question marks on cards

Frequently asked questions

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 representativet 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 priority 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 any 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, you will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.  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.