HR21 - Fixed Term Contracts

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					                  TRUST POLICY
         MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST

                      POLICY REF: HR21

                  FIXED TERM CONTRACTS


SUMMARY                             This policy provides guidance in relation to the
                                    use of fixed term contracts.
APPROVING COMMITTEE(S) AND          JSCC, May 2006
DATE
AUTHOR(S) / FURTHER                 Policy Review Group/HR Consultant
INFORMATION
LEAD DIRECTOR                       Chief Executive/Head of Human Resources
APPLIES TO                          All staff
VERSION                             1.0
STATUS (Final / Draft)              Final
THIS DOCUMENT REPLACES              New Policy
RELATED DOCUMENTS                   Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions,
                                    Recruitment Policy, Equal Opportunities Policy

DISTRIBUTION                        All Policy File Holders, Intranet
REVIEW DUE DATE                     May 2007



 ISSUED BY:
                  Chief Executive

 ISSUE DATE:      September 2006




 HR 21                                                                  Page 1 of 7
CONTENTS                                                          Page


1.      Introduction                                                     3

2.      Responsibilities                                                 3

3.      Definitions                                                      4

4.      Use of Fixed Term Contracts                                      4

5.      Procedure for recruiting to fixed term contracts                 4

6.      Management of staff during employment on a fixed term contract   5

7.      Procedure to follow at the end of a fixed term contract          5


Appendix 1                                                               6

Appendix 2                                                               7




HR 21                                                              Page 2 of 7
1.      Introduction

The Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment)
Regulations 2002, and Health Service Circular HSC 1999/108, highlight the
increasing use of Fixed Term Contracts across the NHS as a whole. This
document aims to provide a source of information regarding the appropriate
use of fixed term contracts within Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust.

The new regulations mean that when fixed term employees with four or more
years continuous employment have their contracts renewed, this
automatically becomes a permanent contract. Service prior to 10 July 2002
does not count towards the 4 year period.

Employees on fixed term contracts have the right to be paid the same rate as
similar permanent employees working for the same employer, and in general
terms must not be treated less favourably than permanent employees. This
means that employees on fixed term contracts will have broadly the same
rights to statutory redundancy payments, written reasons for dismissal and the
right not to be unfairly dismissed as permanent employees. A redundancy
waiver included in a fixed term contract which is agreed, extended or renewed
after 1 October 2002 is invalid.

Most NHS staff have permanent contracts. However, the use of short-term
contracts has risen significantly in recent years. In order to increase
confidence in career opportunities within the NHS, and to aid recruitment and
retention, it is important that the use of fixed term contracts is appropriate and
limited to circumstances where it is strictly necessary.

2.      Responsibilities

2.1     Chief Executive

        •   Is ultimately responsible for and fully endorses all parts of this
            policy.

2.2     Head of Human Resources

        •   Is responsible for ensuring the implementation of this policy and
            procedure.
        •   Is responsible for monitoring the policy and procedure’s
            effectiveness.
        •   Will advise managers, staff and staff representatives on the
            policy and procedure and its interpretation.
        •   Will ensure that appropriate training is given for managers and
            supervisors.
        •   Will regularly review this policy in consultation with staff
            representatives.




HR 21                                                                  Page 3 of 7
2.3      All Managers, Supervisors and Clinical Leads

         •   Must comply with all requirements of this policy and procedure
         •   Managers must have had appropriate training in the application
             of this procedure before its initiation.

2.4      Employees

         •   Should make themselves aware of this policy

2.5      Staff Organisations and Trade Union Representatives

         •   To be familiar with and work with the policy and its requirements.
         •   Should be consulted with and be part of the regular review of this
               policy.

3.       Definitions

A fixed term contract is a contract of employment for a definite period, set in
advance. Employment ends when the contract expires, although managers
will still need to follow the relevant dismissal for fixed term employees
procedure below.

4.       Use of Fixed Term Contracts

When advertising a post, it is important that managers consider which type of
contract is most appropriate. Fixed term contracts may be used in the
following circumstances:

•     To provide time-limited cover for maternity leave, long term sickness
      absence, specialist training, secondment or career breaks

•     As part of an agreed planning process for structural and organisational
      change – there must be a clear link to a longer-term plan e.g. to avoid
      potential redundancies.

•     Project working – this may include externally funded, fixed-term projects.

Fixed term contracts should not be used as a ‘probationary period’.

5.       Procedure for recruiting to fixed term contracts

•     Managers must identify the funding for the post by completing the
      Advertisement Request form and ensuring it is signed by the Chief
      Executive and their Finance representative.

•     If managers are unsure which type of contract is most appropriate for the
      post, they should contact the HR Department for advice.



HR 21                                                                   Page 4 of 7
•    The HR Department will issue a reminder to managers, in good time (a
     minimum of 8 weeks), that an employee’s fixed term contract is due to
     expire. Managers should indicate whether or not they wish to renew the
     contract.


6.      Management of staff during employment on a fixed term contract

Staff employed on Fixed Term Contracts have the right not to be treated less
favourably than a comparable permanent employee in relation to:
• terms and conditions (pay, benefits, access to occupational pension
   scheme, bonus payments, company car, season ticket, etc), albeit on a
   pro rata basis (where appropriate)
• opportunities for promotion, transfer or training;
• securing any permanent position in the establishment

Any performance, capability, disciplinary or sickness issues which arise during
the employment of a member of staff on a fixed term contract must be
managed in the same way as a permanent member of staff.

7.      Procedure to follow at the end of a fixed term contract

The expiration of a fixed term contract is seen as a dismissal in law. Therefore
the statutory dismissal procedures will apply. This involves a 3 step
procedure.

Step One: The intentions of the employer are set out in a letter and there will
be an invitation from the relevant manager for the individual to meet to
discuss the intentions. (See Appendix 1)

Step Two: The meeting will be held between the relevant manager and the
employee and the final decision will be confirmed in writing. (See Appendix 2)

Step Three: The individual will be given the right to appeal.




HR 21                                                                 Page 5 of 7
Appendix 1

Model Letter 1


Dear

Fixed Term Contract Termination

As you are aware, your fixed-term contract is due to expire on [ ].

[OR

As you are aware, you were employed on a fixed-term contract that was set
up to terminate when [task or project] was completed. The task/project for
which you were employed is set to be completed on [ ].

OR

As you are aware you were employed on a fixed-term contract that was set up
to terminate when [ ] returned to work. We can now confirm that that this will
be on [ ].]

We would like to invite you to attend a meeting with [ ] on [date] at [time]. The
purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the impending expiry of your fixed-
term contract, the possible termination of your employment with the PCT and
whether there is any possibility of the PCT offering you further employment.
You may, if you wish, bring a colleague or trade union representative along
with you to the meeting.

If the proposed time and date of the meeting are not suitable for you, please
let me know and we will arrange an alternative time/date that suits all parties.

Yours sincerely

[]




HR 21                                                                 Page 6 of 7
Appendix 2

Model Letter 2



Dear

RE: Fixed Term Contract Termination Meeting

As you are aware following our meeting held on [date], your fixed-term
contract is due to expire on [date].

[OR

As you are aware following our meeting held on [date], you were employed on
a fixed-term contract on the condition that your employment would terminate
when the [task/project] was completed. The [task/project] for which you were
employed is set to be completed on [date].

OR

As you are aware following our meeting held on [date], you were employed on
a fixed-term contract on the condition that your employment would terminate
[if/when] [state event that is about to occur]. We now know that this will be on
[date].]

As explained to you at the meeting, unfortunately the PCT does not have any
further work for you beyond that date and your employment with the PCT will
therefore terminate on [date].

You will be paid by the PCT in the usual manner on [date] and a form P45 will
be sent to you in due course following this date.

You have the right to appeal against the decision to terminate your contract
on the grounds of the fixed term coming to an end. If you wish to appeal, you
should do so in writing within [five working days] to [named person], stating
the grounds for your appeal.

Yours sincerely

[]




HR 21                                                                 Page 7 of 7

				
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