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In Article Archive, Private by Jan Truter10 Comments

Just as we think that the law pertaining to fixed term contracts has settled, something changes. While the latest development regarding the expectation of renewal of a fixed term contract may be welcomed by employers, there is no reason to celebrate.

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    1. Author

      Reply to Helena: For the first 6 months of employment (permanent or fixed term), an employee is entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days of work.

  1. If an employees were employed on a fixed term contract towards the end of contract a female employee goes to a maternity leave while on maternity leave the employee extends the employment contracts of other employees but her contract is not extended does that amounts to unfair labour practices and does it create a reasonable expectation that the employee was going to give her extension.

    1. Author

      Response to Thomas: The fact that the fixed term contracts of the others we extended, does not necessarily mean that a reasonable expectation was created in her case. She would still have to prove it with reference to all the circumstances.

  2. Hi,does this apply to temp workers as well? I’ve been a temp through an agency for a major telecoms company for 5 years now. The contract stipulated it is an ‘open ended assignment’

  3. Was the permanent job position the same or similiar position as what she was doing in terms of her fixed term contract or was it a totally different position? If it was the same position it would seem to me to be unreasonable to appoint a new employee on a permanent basis to do the same work as her and then keep her temporary, unless there is a very good reason to do that. what are your thoughts?

    1. Author

      Response to Michael’s question: I understand your sentiments, but we don’t know what these permanent positions wer for or what the interview process entailed. It is unfortunate that these background facts are not dealt with in the judgement. The LAC’s focus was very narrow and technical. Ms Geldenhuys’s problem was that she had “put her hat in the ring” for a permanent position. She had been offered a further extension of her fixed term contract on more favourable terms. The court did not seem impressed that she had declined this offer.

      1. Author

        Response to Ilse’s question: It does apply to temp workers. However, an “open ended assigment” has a ring of permanence to it.

  4. Can an employee claim unfair dismissal if he is to appear in a disciplinary hearing after his contract end date but his contract is not renewed before the hearing date and the hearing is then not held because his contract was not renewed.

    1. Author

      Response to Faud’s query: If the employee’s contract was validly terminated due to his fixed term of employment having come to an end, he would not be able to claim to have been unfairly dismissed for misconduct.

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