Fixed Term Employment and Staff Employed on Fixed Term Funding Streams Policy
This policy applies to all fixed term employees and staff employed on fixed term funding streams other than those with appointments of very short duration (normally 3 months or less). This will include all types of appointment and all grades of staff.
It is the University’s intention to achieve the right balance between flexible working, organisational efficiency, fair treatment and secure employment. The University depends on a range of funding sources, some of them variable and time limited and therefore needs to make full use of modern and flexible work arrangements and to adopt patterns of work that will fit the challenges of the future. Just as important, all employees in all occupational groups, should be treated fairly and offered opportunities to pursue and develop their careers.
The following principles will be adopted with regard to the use of fixed term contracts:
a) Equality of opportunity is reflected in all aspects of employment. Allocation of staff to fixed term contracts should be free of gender or race bias and will not discriminate on the grounds of disability or age. Monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that this is so,
b) Indefinite contracts are the expected form of employment relationship between the employer and employee,
c) Heads of College should give consideration wherever possible to incorporating external recurrent funding streams into the Business Plan with a view to securing the employment of staff employed on fixed term funding streams.
Very short periods of employment will only be made where the situation is dictated by sickness, parental leave or short funded projects. In particular, the situation in which an employee is appointed on a succession of short-term contracts should be used only in circumstances where this is to the specific benefit of the employee concerned or in circumstances where business exigencies necessitate. That is in circumstances where not to do so would lead to the termination of the contract (e.g. gaps in research funding, provision of continuing sickness or parental cover.)
d) Staff should only be placed on fixed-term contracts where this is justified for transparent and objective reasons. Where this is the case, staff on these contracts will be given:
- comparable opportunity with other staff to develop performance and career prospects through staff development, training and professional development review,
- information on, and the opportunity to apply for, more secure positions,
- a review to consider indefinite employment at appropriate periods at any time, on the request of the employee or Head of College/Department,
- a transfer to a indefinite contract, if a renewal will take them over four years of service, unless the renewal is for five months or less for bridging purposes, or for a reason in employees’ interest as stated under (d) above. There are benefits to the University and the long-term career development of staff in transferring fixed term staff to indefinite contracts. Indefinite employment will be available for members of staff currently on fixed-term contracts where circumstances allow as clarified in the procedures which support this policy.
e) Staff employed on fixed-term contracts or fixed term funding may have special needs (e.g. careers advice for early career research staff) relating to their short-term contracts and facilities are available to meet these needs and the University undertakes to support these needs.
Definitions of HR terms used in this policy:
Fixed term staff can be defined as: staff employed on a particular project or in a particular role with a defined end date.
Staff on fixed term funding streams can be defined as: employees who are employed on an indefinite contract but who are employed to work on a particular project with a fixed end date or with finite funding or in a particular role for which the funding is received from an external body and is not guaranteed indefinitely.