University Fixed-Term Contract (FTC) – Guiding Principles

Effective 1 January 2014

The University have set out the following key principles to determine if it is appropriate to employ staff on Fixed-Term Contracts (FTCs).


All University Staff employed through Fixed-Term Contracts.

Key Principles:

1. As a general rule, staff within the University will be employed through open-ended contracts unless there is a legitimate reason why a FTC should be used instead. Fixed-Term Contracts will only be used where appropriate to business case and where there is a legitimate reason to do so.

2. The appointment of staff onto a FTC must therefore be objectively justified using one or more of the following six criteria:

  • (a) Specialist expertise or experience in the short-term to support a specific task or project.
  • (b) Cover for secondments or career development opportunities.
  • (c) Cover for peaks in demand, where contracts will expire when demand returns to normal levels.
  • (d) Apprenticeship or other recognised training.
  • (e) Cover for maternity/paternity/adoption leave.
  • (f) Cover for long-term sickness absence.

3. The renewal and extension of existing FTCs can be considered where one or more of the criteria within Key Principle 2 is fulfilled.

4. A review of contractual status will take place at the first renewal point after a member of staff has accrued 4 years’ service through the use of successive FTCs. The purpose of this review will be to consider whether the continuation of a FTC remains justified or whether transfer to an open-ended contract is appropriate, and a more rigorous set of objective criteria will be applied. This is covered in more detail in Section 3 of the supporting guidance.

5. The University will ensure that staff who are employed on FTC are not treated less favourably than those with open-ended contracts. Managers will ensure staff on FTCs are treated fairly and equitably.

6. The same criteria will be applied in assessing a request to extend or renew FTCs unless the member of staff has four years´ continuous service in which they will be subject to a 4 Year Review (Section 3 of the supporting guidance).

7. If a department feels that a FTC is still appropriate, even when none of the six criteria apply (See Key Principle 2), then advice should be sought from Human Resources who will provide a judgement.

8. At any stage, the employment relationship may be reviewed and if the review determines that a staff member should be transferred to an open-ended contract, an application should be made using Contract Administration in e-Recruitment. This does not have to wait until the current contract is due to expire.

How the University supports this:

  • The six criteria has been agreed with the University Campus Unions and Human Resources will be responsible for keeping these principles and the supporting guidance under constant review to ensure their continued legal compliance and effective implementation.
  • The University will ensure that decisions, in relation to FTCs, are made in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

Document Control
Last Update: 12/13