How to end a fixed-term contract

Read advice on ending fixed-term contracts, including how to make sure your reasons for ending the contract are fair, and what to do if you want to end the contract early.

Last reviewed on 12 April 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 4512
  1. Ending the contract must be ‘fair’
  2. Consult with staff near the end of their contract
  3. The employee may have redundancy rights
  4. Ending a contract early
  5. If the fixed-term position becomes permanent

Ending the contract must be ‘fair’

Fixed-term contracts don’t usually need a notice period. This is because they usually end automatically on the agreed end date.

But employees who have been in the position for over 1 year have additional rights. If they have:

  • 1 year (or more) service: you must provide a written statement of reasons for not renewing the contract
  • 2 or more years’ service: you must show there's a fair reason for not renewing the contract

For example, if a permanent member of staff is returning to the post that the employee on the fixed-term contract has been covering, you have a fair reason for ending that contract.

Employees with 2 or more years’ service also have redundancy rights (see below).

‘Unfair dismissal’

Appoint another person to the same role, on a new fixed-term contract Continue to