Fixed-term employment contract

A fixed-term contract is a contractual relationship between an employee and an employer that lasts for a specified period. These contracts are usually regulated by countries' labour laws, to ensure that employers still fulfill basic labour rights regardless of a contract's form, particularly unjust dismissal. Generally, fixed-term contracts will automatically be deemed to have created a permanent contract, subject to the employer's right to terminate employment on reasonable notice for a good reason. In the European Union the incidence of fixed-term contracts ranges from 6% in the UK to 23% in Spain, with Germany, Italy and France between 13% and 16%.[1]

By country[edit]

Due to the potential job insecurity that multiple fixed-term contracts may cause, employment laws in many countries limit the circumstances and the way these contracts may be used. In countries where labour law is more restrictive (compensation/indemnity for dismissal), the differentiation between fixed-term and permanent contracts tends to be clearly set out in law. Where employment legislation is less protective for the employee there tends to be a lesser degree of differentiation between fixed and permanent contracts.


There are two possibilities to contract successive fixed-term contracts:

  1. Successive employment contracts with a maximum term of two years: A maximum of four successive fixed-term employment contracts, where the minimum duration of each contract is three months and the total duration of all the successive contracts is not longer than two years.
  2. Successive employment contracts with a maximum term of three years: With the prior authorisation of the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, successive fixed-term contracts can be concluded with a minimum duration of six months if the total duration of all the successive contracts do not exceed three years.[2]


The maximum term is twenty four months and may be extended once only[3]


Fixed-term contracts may not be extended more than three times with a maximum total period of two years.[4]


India allows fixed term employment since 2018. Fixed-term employees are entitled to wage and benefits on par with permanent employees.[5]

United Kingdom[edit]

Any employee on fixed-term contracts for four or more years will automatically become a permanent employee, unless the employer can show there is a good business reason not to do so.[6]

See also[edit]