Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Guidance

Fixed term contracts

Fixed term contracts used to be very beneficial to employers because they limit workers' rights. However, the Fixed Term Employees Regulations 2002 have removed most of these advantages.

It is important to be very careful in issuing these contracts and it must be remembered that terminating a contract constitutes a dismissal. There are questions as to the basis on which a fixed term contract for more than a year can be terminated and a series of fixed term contracts that last for more than four years constitutes a permanent appointment.

Agency staff

There has been a string of cases which have established that any type of agency staff should be treated as employees of the company (ie school or college) if the employer has control over their work and if the relationship continues for a 'significant time'.

Therefore, schools and colleges that use agency staff on a long-term basis to avoid employer responsibilities - something that was at one time popular with 16-19 institutions - may wish to carefully rethink their practices.

Supply staff provided by agencies to cover longer absences may also be considered to be employed by the school and proper processes should be used to dismiss them, in conjunction with the agency.

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