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Avoid these five mistakes when dealing with fixed-term contracts

by , 17 October 2013
Dealing with fixed-term contracts isn't a simple process. In fact, one mistake could land you at the CCMA or Labour Court. And if you lose your case, you'll pay huge penalties. Since prevention is better than cure, steer clear of these five mistakes when dealing with fixed-term contracts.

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management explains that generally, you'll enter into a fixed-term or limited duration employment contract for the person to complete limited or specific task. The contract could also be linked to the availability of a job for a limited or specific period only. These contracts are a lawful form of employment.

Fixed-term contracts normally have a specific termination date on which the contract and the employment relationship end.

BUT, this isn't always the case. Employers often use fixed-term contracts improperly.

Don't make the same mistake!

Here are the five don'ts for fixed-term contracts

#1: Don't enter into a fixed-term employment contract when the contract isn't for the completion of a specific task or linked to the availability of a job for a limited time period.

#2: Don't use fixed-term contracts as a type of probation to assess if the employee's suitable for the job before you hire him permanently.

#3: Don't use a fixed-term contract for continued employment.

#4: Don't use a fixed-term contract to avoid your labour law obligations to act fairly before you dismiss an employee.

#5: Don't use a fixed-term contract to avoid employing employees permanently.

These are improper uses of a fixed-term contract. If you use a fixed-term contract for any of these reasons, you'll expose yourself to the risk of an unfair dismissal claim.

So ensure you have a good reason to enter into a fixed-term contract in the first place.



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