The following applies to employees with 1 year's continuous service or more at the end date of their contract.
The Disputes Resolution Regulations 2004 set out the following minimum statutory requirements for ending a fixed-term contract (technically a dismissal). The employer must:-
- set down in writing the circumstances that may result in dismissal
- invite the employee to a meeting at a reasonable time and place where the issue can be discussed
- inform the employee about any decision and offer the right of appeal
Formal confirmation of the termination from Human Resources Department to the employee, giving the right of appeal, must be sent before the end date of their existing contract.
The above requirements must be met or the dismissal will be automatically unfair and the member of staff will be able to seek financial redress from an Employment Tribunal.
The commonly accepted justifications for a fixed-term contract ending include:-
- external funding ceasing
- completion of a project
- need to cover a temporary staff absence ending
- need for specialist skills ceasing
- end of a secondment.
2. Procedure and guidelines
To ensure that the University complies with the Regulations the following will apply:-
2.1 4 months before the end of a fixed-term contract Human Resources Department will:
Write to the Head of Department to ask if the contract is to be extended or terminated.
Write to the employee to remind them that their current contract is due to end and tell them they will be offered a meeting with their line-manager to discuss the situation.
2.2 If the appointment is to terminate the Head of Department will:-
Ensure that the relevant line-manager (or delegate) writes to the member of staff to offer a specified time/date to meet and consult about the proposal to terminate their appointment. The letter must also give the reasons for the proposal, with a copy kept on file (see template in Appendix 1).
The meeting should be arranged as soon as possible after the reminder notice from Human Resources Department has been received.
If the member of staff does not wish to meet, a record of the invitation and of the employee's response must be kept.
If a meeting takes place the outcome of the meeting should be confirmed in writing to the member of staff. In some cases it may be necessary to detail alternative outcomes - e.g. the appointment will terminate unless a bid for further funding is successful.
Return the pro-forma HR/124 to Human Resources Department no later than 1 month before the contract end date and:-
- give reasons for the termination
- confirm that a meeting with the member of staff took place or that the latter declined the invitation
2.3 On receipt of the completed pro-forma Human Resources Department will:-
Write to the individual and confirm the termination of their appointment, formally state the reasons for it and advise the member of staff that they have the right of appeal.
You will be aware that your current fixed-term contract is due to end on …. I am writing to invite you to a meeting on … in … to consult with you about the proposed termination of your employment with the University at the end of your current contract.
The reason(s) for the proposed termination is as follows: -
- the external funding from … ceases or is likely to cease on that date and no other source of funding to support your post is available
- the project you are working on will cease on that date
- the need to cover for the temporary absence of a member of staff will cease on that date
- the need for your specialist skills will cease on that date
You are welcome to invite a colleague or union representative to accompany you. Following the meeting I will confirm whether or not a recommendation to terminate your appointment will be made.
Please let me know if you are able to make the above meeting. If not, please contact me as soon as possible to agree another time and date. If you do not wish to meet, I should be grateful if you would provide me with written confirmation of this.
I look forward to meeting with you.
Originator: C Clements
Issued: May 2005
Amended: January 2006
Review Date: January 2007