Sarah has secured a contract for a project and is looking at hiring a new employee to assist with the work involved. Upon completion of the project, there will be no additional work available to the employee. Sarah wants to know what type of contract she should offer her key candidate.
As the employment will be linked to a particular project, Sarah should engage the new employee on a fixed- task contract. Fixed-task contracts run for the length of a set task or project.
This is distinct from a fixed-term contract that runs for a specific period of time, usually with a set end date outlined in the contract. A fixed-task contract comes to a natural end upon completion of the task. As such, it is important to ensure that the contract clearly outlines what constitutes completion of the project.
It may also be possible to include a termination clause in the contract that allows the employer to terminate the contract prior to the end of the task.
This is useful in the event there are issues with performance or a downturn in work that necessitates employment ending earlier than anticipated.
The contract should expressly include a provision allowing notice of termination to be given prior to the end of the task. Failure to include this could mean the employer will have to pay the employee for the entire contracted period, even if the employee is no longer undertaking productive work.
In addition, it is important that fixed-task contracts are not allowed to continue past the specified task/project. If the employee continues working beyond this, it may be implied that the contract has been converted into one of permanency.
Like to know more or have a similar situation you need to manage? Contact CCI’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or firstname.lastname@example.org for professional employee relations and human resources advice.