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 a contract early.

Last reviewed on 20 April 2023
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