Fixed Term Employment Contract (Maternity and Sickness Cover)
This Fixed Term Employment Contract (Maternity and Sickness Cover) is designed to be used where an employee is recruited, on a temporary basis, to cover another employee’s absence through maternity leave or sickness. This contract can be used for a variety of different jobs where such an employee is needed.
Employers must provide workers and employees with a written statement of their main terms and conditions of employment and this is often known as a Standard Form Section One Statement.
This Contract covers the requirements of a Standard Form Section One Statement. This contract complies with these requirements and must be provided to the employee or worker by day one of employment.
Fixed term employees have the same minimum rights as permanent workers and are protected by the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. These regulations state that any clause which purports to waive rights regarding unfair dismissal or redundancy is void.
In addition to the special provisions relating to the duration of the contract, the Fixed Term Employment Contract (Maternity and Sickness Cover) contains all the usual provisions relating to sickness, holidays, remuneration, pensions and retirement etc. There is a probationary period, which can be deleted if not required.
Fixed Term – Although the contract is described as ‘fixed term’, in fact it is slightly flexible. The term of employment starts on a fixed date, which is set out in clause 4. It then continues until the person who is being covered returns to work following the end of his or her maternity leave or sick leave.
It should be noted that, although the fixed term contract is agreed to be temporary, the expiry of a fixed-term contract is still a dismissal from a legal point of view. Consequently, employers must ensure they act reasonably when ending the contract. Generally, such a dismissal will be fair, but it is important that the expiry of the fixed-term is the real reason for the employee's dismissal. In circumstances like these, where the fixed term contract is to cover a period of maternity or sick leave, dismissal for ‘some other substantial reason (SOSR)’ is likely to apply. See the SOSR suite of documents.
The contract includes a clause which allows the employer to terminate the fixed term contract early, without facing a potential claim for damages equivalent to the pay and benefits the fixed term worker would have received up to the time the contract was due to end. Although it might seem inconsistent to give an employee a contract for a fixed period of time and also state that notice to terminate it can be given before that period of time has passed, the inclusion of this notice of early termination clause gives the employer the option, in the event of, say, a downturn in business, to terminate the fixed-term contract early without being in breach of contract. Without this notice of early termination clause, the employee is entitled to sue the employer for damages.
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Clauses with optional and alternative phrases
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