Navigating Fixed-Term Contracts: Benefits & Practical Insights

permanent employee permanent contracts

This article will explore a fixed-term employee contract, its advantages and disadvantages, and how it works in practice.

What is a fixed-term contract?

A fixed-term employment contract is an employment agreement that sets a predetermined end date for the employee's tenure with the company. In a fixed-term employment contract, the employee works for a specified period, such as three, four, or more years each, and the contract ends on a particular date or upon completion of a specific task or project.

This type of contract differs from a permanent one, which provides long-term job security and has no predetermined end date. Employers use fixed-term employment contracts to hire employees for a set duration, often for project work, seasonal work, or to cover a particular absence such as maternity or sick leave.

However, offering fixed-term contracts to employees carries certain risks, including the possibility of early termination, which may result in the payment of pay as specified in the employment arrangement.

Useful Read: Crafting a Contract Termination Letter: Guidelines and Sample Template

Differences between temporary and fixed-term contracts

The following are definitions of a temporary contract and a comparison of temporary and permanent contracts and fixed-term contracts:

Definitions of a temporary contract

A temporary contract is a period of employment that is not intended to be permanent. It or consecutive fixed-term contracts may be for a specified time or the end when the project it was created for has been completed. Temporary contracts are generally used to fill short-term staffing needs or supplement existing staff during high workloads.

Comparison of temporary and fixed-term contracts

In contrast to successive fixed-term contracts, a fixed-term employment contract is a period of employment that ends on a specified date. Unlike temporary contracts, it may be renewed when the contract ends. Fixed-term contracts are used to fill more permanent positions and are often required by law to ensure fair working conditions for employees.

When comparing temporary and fixed-term contracts, the key differences are in duration and security of employment. Temporary contracts may end suddenly, without a notice period or compensation for the employee. Fixed-term contracts provide a more secure working environment as they last until their specified completion date or can be renewed.

How is a fixed-term employment contract different from a casual contract?


A fixed-term employment contract is an employment agreement that sets specific terms for a particular time of an employee's engagement with their employer. These terms include duration, work hours, and pay rate.

For a more casual employee, the contract is less structured and may not have any set end day or guaranteed hours. Simple agreements allow employees to be hired as needed, with no selected end date or guaranteed hours. A casual contract offers greater flexibility regarding when and how often an employee works.

With a fixed-term employment contract, the employer has the reassurance that they have someone on board for an agreed-upon duration and within the specified parameters of their employment contract. Employees who leave before the first short-term contract's end date may be subject to penalty or compensation.

A casual contract offers flexibility for both parties as it doesn't come with many countries the same fixed obligations as a fixed-term engagement. Any tenure does not bind the employer and can easily replace an employee. In addition, a casual contract may not guarantee benefits or vacation time.

Therefore, while a fixed-term engagement generally provides more job security fixed term employees than a casual one, it can benefit an employer by having an employee commit to a specific duration and timeframe.

A casual contract, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility for both parties but may lack job security for the employee. Ultimately, both types of agreements have pros and cons that should be weighed when deciding which kind of contract best suits an employer's needs.

The choice between a fixed-term or casual contract depends on your circumstances. A fixed-term employee contract may be better if you want more stability.

A casual contract might suit you better if you prefer flexibility and want to take on short-term or irregular work. Whichever type of engagement you choose, both parties must be clear on expectations and understand their rights and responsibilities under the arrangement.

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Fixed-term employment: risks and rewards

Here are some of the risks and rewards associated with fixed-term employment:


Early termination of fixed-term employment

An employer can end your fixed-term employment contract early if they no longer require your services before the contract expires. You may not have as much job security as a permanent employee and could be out of work sooner than expected.

Lack of benefits

Depending on the type of fixed-term employment terms, you may not be eligible for benefits such as vacation pay, sick leave, or health insurance.

Useful Read: Types of Benefits for Employees: A Complete Guide

Limited job security

If a company is not actively hiring for full-time positions, it can be difficult to find another job once your fixed-term employment ends.


Employers may sometimes have temporary workers or offer higher hourly wages for fixed-term employees than permanent employees.

Access to specialized skills

Fixed-term employment contracts can provide access to specialized skills that may not be available in the current workforce. Employers can use fixed-term contracts to hire experts in a specific field or project without training or developing existing employees for specific tasks.


For some people, fixed-term employment may offer more flexibility than a regular job. For example, you may have more control over your schedule or be able to take time off.

No long-term commitment

Fixed-term employment allows you to try something without committing to a long-term job. This can allow you to explore different roles and determine what type of work best suits your skills and interests.

Cost-effective hiring options

Hiring employees under a fixed-term employment contract can be cost-effective for managers. This type of contract can avoid the costs associated with permanent employees, such as benefits, severance, and long-term job security.

Useful Read: How To Calculate the Cost Of An Employee + Free Template

Overall, fixed-term employment can offer both risks and rewards. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether it fits you.

What's included in a fixed-term employment contract template?

businesswoman-has-a-meeting-with-businessman-2022-02-02-03-57-53-utc_50-2Several items should be included in a fixed-term employment contract template. These include:

  • The names of the parties involved - both employer and employee.
  • A detailed description of the job, including the scope of duties, hours of work, etc.
  • The length of the engagement and start/end dates.
  • The salary or rate of pay and any overtime rates.
  • Payment terms and frequency.
  • Perks include vacation time, health insurance coverage, etc.
  • Termination conditions - meaning when either party can terminate the contract before its expiration date and what happens then (i.e., whether the employee is entitled to a severance package).
  • A confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement.
  • A statement of compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Any other relevant terms or conditions may be specific to the job or situation.

By including these items in your fixed-term employment contract template, you can ensure that the written contract reflects your agreement with the employee more accurately. This will help protect both parties and ensure a smooth transition should the employment period end.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, fixed-term contracts can be terminated early; essential necessary to have an early termination clause in the employment terms to protect both parties. This clause should outline the circumstances under which the fixed-term employment contract can be terminated early and any associated costs or penalties.

    Employers should ensure they have a valid reason for terminating the contract early and follow proper procedures to avoid legal consequences. Fixed-term employees who are terminated early may be entitled to severance pay or other compensation, depending on the employment contract and local labor laws.

  • There are several advantages to using fixed-term engagement in employment:

    • Flexibility: Fixed-term contracts provide employers with flexibility in their staffing needs. They can hire employees for a specific project or a certain period without the commitment of a permanent contract. This can be especially useful for seasonal work or temporary staffing needs.

    • Cost-effective: Fixed-term contracts can be a cost-effective option for employers. They allow companies to avoid the costs associated with permanent workers, such as severance pay and long-term job security.

    • Access to specialized skills: Fixed-term engagements can provide technical specialized skills that may not be available in the current workforce. Employers can use these engagements to hire experts in a specific project without the need to train or develop existing employees.

    • Trial period: fixed term contracts can serve as a trial period for the employer and the employee. Employers can evaluate employees' skills and fit with the company before committing long-term. Employees can determine if the company and role are a good fit for their career goals.
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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