Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Appendix A1.1i

Employment of short-term employees

1. Background

1.1 The Fixed Term Employee Regulations came into force in October 2002. Whilst the regulations did not outlaw the use of fixed term contracts, they did remove many of the incentives for employers to use them. Fixed term employees could no longer waive their right to a redundancy payment, suffer detriment in relation to indefinite employees or be employed on successive fixed term contracts ad infinitum. However, the regulations did accept that in some circumstances employers might have legitimate business reasons, which would objectively justify treating employed on fixed term contracts differently to indefinite employees.

1.2 In 2003 the objective justification defence was tested at the employment tribunal, thus establishing science and business-based criteria for the use of fixed term contracts within JNCC employment.

Return to top

2. Purpose

BBSRC recognises that the majority of employees are seeking permanent employment owing to the additional security and stability that this offers. For this and other business reasons BBSRC is committed to offering indefinite contracts to employees wherever practical. However, we also recognise that in order to be competitive research providers, to meet certain operating requirements and to fulfil our scientific training mission, we require the flexibility to offer fixed term appointments in certain limited and defined circumstances.

Return to top

3. Operation

3.1 The offer of fixed-term/temporary appointments to employees will be restricted to circumstances where:

a) There is a requirement for a casual appointment of 3 months or less, e.g. for seasonal work.

b) There is an operational justification for an appointment of less than 12 months in duration (e.g. for very short-term work needs or to provide cover). These appointments will not be extended beyond the 12-month period without advising the local Trade Union; or

c) The appointment is made to cover the absence of an employee on an approved career break, other management approved/contractual absence; or for the purpose of replacing an employee who has transferred voluntarily into a fixed-term, non-BBSRC funded post on career development grounds, e.g. promotion/deputising, or for experience/skills1/development opportunities in the same band, or to complete a apecific task; or

d) The appointment is for a sandwich course student; or

e) The appointment is as part of an externally funded, peer reviewed fellowship; or

f) The appointment is part of a strategic longer and larger grant (LoLa); funding typically supports research projects requiring longer timescales. extensive resources. or multidisciplinary approaches.  Proposals must be over £2M (FEC project value net of any industrial contribution) and can be up to 5 years in duration.

g) The appointment meets all of the following criteria:

  • It is part of a limited term grant, or specifically funded project of less than 4 year
  • There is little or no expectation that the work will continue beyond the duration of this support
  • The work requires specialist scientific or other skills and there is no expectation that these skills will be required beyond the life of the project.  This will also apply to highly specialised or unique technical skills

h) The appointment is for research scientists recruited into the Career Track Scheme, which is for the development of high flying researchers with potential to be programme leaders; or

i) The appointment is part of the BBSRC post-doctoral training scheme, which offers training and developments to recently qualified post-doctoral scientists, or those changing discipline

j)  There is a requirement for short term occasional or ad hoc work under a zero hour working assignment

3.2 Exceptionally, limited-term appointment contracts will also be issued at establishments, sites or within functional specialisms, where it is known that the activity/location is winding down for closure, within the period of the contract.

Return to top

4. Reports and reviews

4.1. An annual report will be prepared for the JNCC, indicating the overall profile of BBSRCs' staffing appointments by band, gender, age and ethnic origin.

4.2 This agreement will be reviewed jointly after two years.

Return to top

Last updated: 12/01/11

Amendment 117 - January 2011