Fixed Term Employees in Ireland-the Legal Position


Published on A look at the law surrounding fixed term workers in Ireland

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Fixed Term Employees in Ireland-the Legal Position

  1. 1. An overview of the law covering fixed term workers in Ireland http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  2. 2.  Fixed term employees are employed on either a fixed term contract or a specified purpose contract.  A fixed term contract is one where the end date of the contract is known at the outset whereas a specified purpose contract is one which terminates on the occurrence of a specific event or cessation of a specific purpose.  The Employment Equality Acts apply to all employees, regardless of their length of service, including fixed term employees http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  3. 3.  the purpose of this act is to ensure that fixed term workers get no less favourable treatment than their comparable permanent counterparts and  to prevent employers from abusing employees by employing them on a series of successive short fixed term contract.  Fixed term workers are excluded from the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts by virtue of the fact that the contract has come to an end (either by expiry of the term or the arrival of the specific purpose event) but only provided three conditions are met:  The contract was in writing  The contract states that the Unfair Dismissals act will not apply to a dismissal which occurs only as a result of the end of the contract arriving  The contract was signed by both employee and employer.  The above exclusion does not apply to dismissal during the term of the fixed term contract, provided of course the employee has the necessary period of continuous service (1 year). http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  4. 4.  It has been held by the Labour Court that the non renewal of a fixed term contract will not, of itself, give rise to a claim of less favourable treatment under the act.  The Act also provides that where an employer proposes to renew a fixed term contract the employee shall be informed in writing, not later than the date of the renewal, of the objective grounds justifying the renewal of the fixed term contract and the failure to offer a contract of indefinite duration. http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  5. 5.  There is an anti-abuse provision in the Unfair Dismissals (Amendment) Act 1993 also which prevents the employer from giving the employee a series of fixed term contracts.  Generally there is a limit of four years on the length of successive fixed term contracts with the same employer or associated employer.  Even if the contracts are not successive eg a 3 month gap, they may be held to be successive  However there is no limit on the duration of the 1st fixed term contract. http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  6. 6.  An employee on a fixed term contract can be treated less favourably than his permanent counterpart with respect to one term of his contract if this can be objectively justified ie  It arises from a real need on behalf of the employer  Is appropriate to achieve the objective  Is necessary to achieve the objective. http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  7. 7.  The employee must be notified in writing as soon as possible of the objective condition ending the contract.  The employer must inform the employee of vacancies and training opportunities to avail of a permanent job should one arise.  Fixed term employees may make a complaint to a Rights Commissioner in the first instance should a breach of their rights occur; the next step would be an appeal to the Labour Court and then to the High Court. The time limit is 6 months or 12 months in exceptional circumstances.  Section 13 of the Act prohibits penalization of the employee by the employer for making a complaint. http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  8. 8.  A fixed term employee may be redundant within the meaning of the Redundancy Payments Acts on the expiry and non renewal of his/her fixed term contract. http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om
  9. 9.  Main Street, Enfield, Co. Meath  Tel: 086/81 21 797 or 046/95 49 614   Visit for more information about employment law in Ireland http://EmploymentRightsIreland.c om