As the name suggests, fixed term employment contracts are designed to cover a specific period of time. Unlike open-ended standard employment contracts, fixed term contracts have an end point - whether a specific date or the point at which a project has been completed - upon which the employment relationship automatically ceases, unless a new agreement is reached. Some of the situations in which a fixed term contract will be suitable include:
- Seasonal work - where there is a peak period which requires more workers compared to off-peak times.
- Project work - when either a larger workforce is required to complete the project or the skills of specialist employees are needed for a limited time.
- Maternity cover - this is usually fixed term but sometimes extended, often resulting in the fixed-term employee being taken on permanently.
Agency workers, apprentices and students on a work experience placement are not considered to be fixed term employees.