We are a charity in receipt of funding for a variety of staff posts, many of whom are on fixed term contracts. It is often our practice to extend contracts when funding allows for this. My query is are we obliged to issue a new contract each time we extend the term of an employee's employment or is it sufficient to issue the employee with a letter simply stating that the contract is extended until a specific time in the future. I’d also be interested to know if a letter would suffice for internal employees who take on new duties during maternity cover i.e. will a letter explaining new duties be enough or again are we obliged to issue a contract?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 5 October 2010
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

A simple side agreement or letter of variation to the FTCs should suffice in these circumstances assuming that the employee consents to the proposed extended duration change. This document should be signed by both the employer and employee and held together with the contract of employment with a copy being provided to the employee.

However, you should be careful when considering extensions of fixed-term contracts as there must be clear justification for not transferring the employee to a permanent contract if the employee has service of four years or more (as per the 2002 Fixed Term Employee Regulations).

In relation to those employees temporarily taking on additional maternity cover

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email rosemary.lundy@arthurcox.com

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