Richard Grogan on employment law: Protection of Employee (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003

Richard Grogan
Richard Grogan

Employment law solicitor Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors writes on fixed-term work contracts.

In ADJ-6707, the Adjudication Officer had to deal with a case involving a worker and a Government Department. (It is interesting as an aside that Government is seem to be the ones who were forever coming before the WRC and the Labour Court relating to the Fixed-Term Work Act.)

The AO in this case pointed out that the contract had no end date. The fact that the employee was employed to cover for absent employees can only mean that there is no end date and no end purpose. The AO in this case pointed out that the relevant legislation in section 2(1) defines a fixed-term worker and also referred to section 8 which provides that where an employee is employed on a fixed-term contract, the fixed-term employee shall be informed in writing as soon as practicable by the employer of the objective conditions determining the contract whether it is arriving at a specific date, the completion of a specific task or the occurrence of a specific event.

The AO pointed out that the contract for the employee had no end date or end purpose. No notice had been given as soon as practicable and in fact no notice in writing of the objective conditions determining the contract of employment was given. The AO pointed out that the reason for her employment was to cover for absent members of staff and therefore by its very nature was ongoing and indefinite. The AO held that the employee was an employee and was not a fixed-term employee but was effectively a full-time employee.

When it comes to fixed-term contracts, it is vitally important that employers get appropriate advice in respect of same. It is very easy to get the documentation wrong and to end up with an employee who is effectively determined to be a full-time employee or alternatively an employee who is entitled to a contract of indefinite duration.

  • Richard Grogan is the principal solicitor at Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors. You can subscribe to the firm’s monthly newsletter at
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