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Fixed-term contract work

You are considered a fixed-term worker if your contract of employment is due to end when a specified date is reached, a specified event occurs or a specified task has been completed. A fixed-term worker must be granted the same access to a pension as a comparable permanent employee.

The purpose of the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 is to ensure that there is no discrimination between fixed-term workers and comparable permanent employees in respect of their conditions of employment.

The Act covers conditions of employment which, in relation to a pension arrangement, include eligibility for membership, entitlements to rights under the pension arrangement, and conditions relating to the making of contributions.

In determining whether there is less favourable treatment it is possible to take the employee’s conditions of employment as a total package as opposed to comparing individual terms only.

An exemption exists where there is an objective justification for the less favourable treatment and, in relation to pensions only, where the fixed-term employee works less than 20% of the normal hours of work of the comparable permanent employee. However, your employer’s pension scheme may override this exception and treat all part-time employees in the same way as permanent employees.

A pro-rata principle applies to the amount or scope of benefits under conditions of employment. Generally this means that a fixed term worker would be entitled to the same benefits/contributions as a comparable permanent employee for the duration of his or her contract.