Question: Must an employer give notice of termination of the services of an employee who has been employed on a temporary basis?
Answer: Where the termination/end date has been stipulated, no notice is required. Where the temporary contract is project bound and the end date is uncertain, then notice is required.
Brief explanation: A temporary contract of employment may be entered into where the person is employed for a purpose that is of a temporary nature. In some situations a termination date should be stipulated (e.g. where the employee fills in for someone on maternity leave). This may be regarded as advance notice of termination of employment and it is not necessary to give notice again. While there may be no legal requirement to give formal notice of termination in these circumstances, it is a matter of courtesy for the employer to remind the employee of the forthcoming termination date.
On the other hand, there are situations where the end date is uncertain (e.g. a project of which the duration can only be estimated) and it may be inappropriate to specify an end date. In these situations reference should be made to the fact that the duration of employment is linked to the completion of the project or the specific task for which the employee has been employed. For the sake of clarity the contract should define what exactly would signify the end of the project or task. When it becomes apparent that the project or task is nearing its end, notice should given in terms of the contract of employment (subject to section 37 of the BCEA, applicable Bargaining Council Agreement or Sectoral Determination).
Note: These snippets of information are based on frequently asked questions and will be circulated to subscribers on a regular basis. Labourwise subscribers are invited to submit questions on matters that they believe would be of general interest to employers.
Disclaimer: The material above is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on information contained in this article.