So, you’ve been offered a fixed-term individual employment agreement, huh?


Before you dive in headfirst, let’s break it down so you know exactly what you’re getting into.






What’s the Deal with Fixed-Term Agreements Anyway?

So a fixed term agreement is for exactly that, for a period of time as opposed to indefinitely. It might be related to actual time or a project. You might be offered a fixed-term agreement for a variety of reasons, all dependent on the specific needs and circumstances of the employer. It could be that they have a specific project or task that needs completing within a set timeframe, such as a seasonal rush in business or a short-term assignment requiring specialised skills. Alternatively, they might need temporary cover for an employee on leave or want to assess your fit for a role before making a long-term commitment. Fixed-term agreements can also offer flexibility for both parties, allowing employers to adjust their workforce according to fluctuating demand while giving employees opportunities for short-term employment experiences.


The Scoop on Legit Reasons

Now, here’s the kicker: for a fixed-term agreement to fly, there’s gotta be a legit reason for it. We’re talking genuine, bona fide reasons, not just some flimsy excuse to avoid commitment. An employer cannot use it as trial or to avoid there obligations as an employer. The reasons can’t be to give someone a go, or to see how business is in a few months. So, what counts as legit?


Legit and Not-So-Legit Reasons


Legit reasons might include stuff like:

  1. Project-Based Work: You’re hired to work on a specific project, and once it’s done, so are you.
  2. Seasonal Gigs: Think lifeguarding in the summer, fruit picking or retail during the holiday rush.
  3. Covering for Someone: Maybe someone’s taking a sabbatical, or maternity leave and you’re stepping in for a while.



Now, here’s what doesn’t fly:

  1. Dodging Responsibilities: Employers can’t use fixed-term agreements to skip out on providing benefits or job security.
  2. Sneaky Permanent Work: If the job’s ongoing and doesn’t fit one of the legit reasons, it’s a no-go.
  3. Messing with Rights: Trying to wiggle out of employee rights and protections? Not cool, my friend.
  4. Can we afford you?: An employer can’t get you on a fixed term basis and get rid of you if the business can’t afford you in the future. This is their responsibility to bear, and there are thigns they can, like a restructure, if that’s the case.


What If They Forget to Give Notice?

Okay, so let’s say you’re cruising through your fixed-term gig, and suddenly, the end date rolls around with no mention of extending or saying goodbye. Uh-oh. You are a permanent employee. If your employer doesn’t give proper notice before the end date, they cannot terminate your employment unless they adhere to a proper process and had a legitimate basis. See our article on unfair dismissal for more!


Other Important Stuff You Should Know

Oh, and one more thing – your contract should spell out all the normal details like hours, holidays, and all the usual perks of regular employment. None of that “vague terms and conditions” nonsense. If it’s not crystal clear, don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek advice. A fixed-term employee must get all the usual benefits a permanent employee gets like sick leave after 6 months, breaks and of course holidays!


Get Advice if You’re Not Sure

Bottom line: Fixed-term agreements can be a win-win if they’re done right. But if you’re feeling unsure or something seems fishy, don’t hesitate to reach out for advice. The Sacked Kiwi Team would love to help you out.



Legal Disclaimer: The content posted on the Sacked Kiwis website should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice or opinion. The information presented here is not intended to serve as legal guidance. Over time, laws and regulations evolve, potentially altering the accuracy of previously shared information. Updates in jurisprudence or legislation, which could happen without immediate notice, may render the legal information on this platform outdated. 


Should you need employment advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our toll-free hotline. We can support you from when you pick up the phone to getting your hearing in the ERA