The Protection of Employees Fixed-term Work Act 2003

The Protection of Employees Fixed-Term Work Act has the purpose of trying to improve the work experience of workers under a fixed-term work contract. The Act will do so by making sure that the companies are adhering to the principle of non-discrimination. That will ensure that the workers with fixed-term contracts are treated no less favourably than comparable workers who have permanent contracts.

This Act forbids any discrimination against workers with fixed-term contracts in any company that employs them. It also prohibits the abuse of workers by using successive fixed-term contracts in place of a permanent contract. The act also establishes a framework that supports these protections.

Fixed-Term Employees

Fixed-term employees are persons who are working under a contract of employment they entered with an employer. Furthermore, the contract determines the end of the employment. Objective conditions define the end of the contract. The most common conditions include reaching a date that ends the contract, completing a task the employee was hired for or any other specific events.

This term doesn’t encompass employees who are going through initial vocational education and training. Also, it doesn’t include employees who are in apprenticeship schemes. Lastly, the term doesn’t include employees whose contracts end through the framework of public training, vocational retraining programmes or integration courses.

The Act further instructs employers to inform their fixed-term employees, in writing, about the objective conditions that define their contracts. They should do so as soon as they practically can.

In the case where the employer wants to propose to renew the contract, the Act also gives the employees the right to be informed in writing. The employer has to inform the employee before the date of the renewal. Furthermore, the employer has to inform the employee of the reasons they are proposing the renewal of the fixed contract as opposed to offering a permanent one.

Employees Whose Contracts Began Prior to the Passing of the Act

The Protection of Employees Fixed-term Work Act was passed on 14 July 2003. However, there are differences for the employees who had entered their contracts beforehand. Once such an employee goes through a three-year period of continuous employment with the employer, the employer can only renew the fixed-term contract one more time. Furthermore, the renewal may not be for a period that is longer than one year.

Employees Whose Contracts Began After the Passing of the Act

The total duration of fixed-term contracts made with employees that have been working for their employers, or employers associated with their employers, on multiple consecutive fixed-term contracts, may not go over four years.

If an employment contract includes terms that go against the limits, those terms will be considered void. As such, they will have no effect. The contract, on the other hand, will be considered a permanent contract.

Referral of Complaint

In the case of a dispute in relation to an entitlement under the act, an employee has the ability to refer the dispute to a Rights Commissioner of the Labour Relations Commission. Once the Rights Commissioner comes up with a decision, the parties involved can appeal that decision to the Labour Court. The Labour Court will provide a legally binding solution.