With effect from July 2006, a fixed-term contract extended beyond 4 years will automatically become indefinite unless the University can show objective justification for its continued use. It should be noted the member of staff concerned has the right to challenge the justification and that it is illegal to terminate a fixed-term contract solely to prevent the 4-year rule from applying.
If the continuous service of the member of staff exceeds 4 years during the period of a proposed fixed-term contract extension (or if it is already more than 4 years), the University requires that a case for the continued use of a fixed-term contract must be made before a contract is offered.
Faculty Review Groups will normally review cases before the end date of the current contract.
Exceptionally Faculty Review Groups may review cases retrospectively. However, a contract cannot be offered unless the case has been made as part of the contract extension authorisation process.
Members of staff will be consulted before a case is made and be advised of their right to provide written comments to the Faculty Review Group should they believe that a case for transfer to indefinite status exists.
3. Procedure and guidelines
3.1 Human Resources Department will:
At the beginning of each academic year write to Head of Departments and provide i) a list of fixed-term staff whose contracts are due to end within the next 12 months and whose continuous length of service will exceed 2 years at the end of the contract and ii) the dates of Faculty Review Group meetings.
This information is intended to help HoDs anticipate cases to be made to the Faculty Review Group.
HoDs will be also be asked to indicate which members of staff on the list may be put forward for transfer to indefinite status in the coming academic year. This information will be forwarded to BRG for planning purposes.
3.2 Four months before the end of individual fixed-term contracts Human Resources Department will:
- - Write to the Head of Department to ask whether or not a contract is to terminate.
- - Write to the employee to remind them that their current contract is due to end and that they will be offered a meeting with their line-manager to discuss the situation.
3.3 The Head of Department will justify the further use of a fixed-term contract beyond 4 years continuous service:
If the continuous service of the employee will exceed 4 years during the period of the extension (or is already more than 4 years), the HoD must attach a case to justify the further use of a fixed-term contract to the 'Renewal of Fixed-Term Appointment' authorisation form.
All such cases will:
- if at all possible be made in time to be considered by the Faculty Review Group before the current contract ends
- use the pro-forma provided (Appendix 1)
- reference the case being made to the criteria for decision (Appendix 2)
- confirm that the member of staff has been consulted and that they are aware of their right to forward written information to the Faculty Review Group should they consider a case for transfer to indefinite status exists
- be copied by the HoD to the member of staff concerned.
3.4 The member of staff will:
Forward written comments to the Faculty Review Group should they believe that a case for transfer to indefinite status exists.
3.5 The Faculty Review Group will:
Confirm or otherwise the further use of a fixed-term contract.