Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

University Governance

University Ordinances

Ordinance XLIII

Policy and Procedure on the Use of Fixed Term Contracts

(Effective from 27 November 2014)

This ordinance shall apply to all staff to whom paragraph 3 of Statute XXI refers[1]. Provisions for all other staff shall be found in the relevant Conditions of Service.

  1. The University acknowledges that fixed term contracts are not good models for long- term employment and is committed to reducing their use. It recognises the responsibilities placed on it by the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, the aim of which was to avoid the abusive use of fixed term contracts through repeated renewals by employers. In all cases where fixed term contracts are proposed or in place there should be objective reasons for their use. 
  2. In accordance with Regulation 8 of the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, the following objective reasons or circumstances have been agreed in conjunction with Unison, Unite and UCU for the use of fixed term contracts. If the University proposes to use a fixed term contract in any other circumstance the reasons will be discussed with the relevant trades union. 
    • The post is needed to cover staff absence as appropriate (e.g. parental or adoptive leave, long-term sickness, sabbatical leave or secondment to another organisation)
    • The contract is to provide a secondment or career development opportunity
    • There is a need for short term input from specialist practitioners
    • The student or other business demand can be clearly demonstrated as exceptionally uncertain
    • There is no reasonably foreseeable prospect of short-term funding being renewed nor other external or internal funding being available or becoming available.
  3. This last reason would normally include initial fixed term appointments, and short term extensions, that are supported by externally funded projects. Each appointment shall be for the length of funding agreed by the external body. Before any fixed term contract is offered, or extended, a statement of the objective reasons for its use must be produced by the recruiting department and agreed with Human Resources. 
  4. The Guide to Best Practice produced by the national Research Careers Initiative Working Group on Career Management indicates that a long-term career as a contract researcher within higher education is not possible or desirable for the majority of staff. In contrast to other staff groups, Universities have a moral obligation to provide training and experience for contract research staff so that they can then meet the needs of other employers in industry and society. Many research staff will form part of this vital flow of people at the end of their first University contract. The University is committed to providing training and careers support and guidance to assist with this transition to other employment. 
  5. It is the University’s expectation that it will be exceptional for employees to remain on fixed term contacts for periods exceeding four years. In accordance with Regulation 8 of the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, the objective reasons or circumstances set out in paragraph 2 have been agreed in conjunction with Unison, Unite and UCU with regards to when it may be appropriate to extend an employee’s fixed term contract beyond four years. In addition, where the employee has been employed in a number of different positions within the University on successive, separate fixed term contracts, it may also be permissible to extend an employee’s fixed term contract beyond four years. Research staff employed on successive research projects are excluded, however.
  6. Each employee who remains in employment on a fixed term contract for such a period will have their position reviewed to see whether there are objective reasons, as set out above, for the continuation of the time limits on their appointment. If objective reasons in accordance with section (5) above cannot be established, their contract will automatically become indefinite. Individuals who do not have the time limits removed will be given details of the reasons for this decision and will be able to appeal to their Dean/Director. If the Dean/Director has been involved in the decision, the appeal will be heard by a Pro Vice Chancellor or the Chief Operating Officer. Individuals wishing to appeal must write to the Director of Human Resources within two weeks of receipt of the decision. 
  7. Sections (5) and (6) apply in situations where an individual has remained in the same position for the required period. Where an employee voluntarily accepts a new position on a fixed term contract, the four year qualifying period will be deemed to have commenced from the start of the new fixed term contract.
  8. The University shall ensure that the expected duration of any fixed term contract is explicit in the contract of employment and this shall also serve as early notification of the termination of the contract.  Three months’ prior to the expiry of the contract of employment, the University’s HR department shall write to the member of staff and their Dean/Director to alert them to the expected expiry date.  
  9. Appeals against the termination of a fixed term contract will be heard by the relevant Dean/Director of Professional Service.


[1] Staff where a substantial proportion of their duties involve the provision of teaching, learning or research.