The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act, 2003 outlaws discrimination against staff on fixed-term contracts unless there are ‘objective grounds’ for variations in pay and conditions. The ‘objective grounds’ cannot include the fact that the contract is for a fixed time period. This means that, generally, fixed-term staff who are on the same or similar grade as permanent staff doing similar work must get the same pay and conditions unless there are objective grounds to justify a difference. The Act specifically limits employers’ scope to keep staff on a series of fixed-term contracts over long periods of time, although the precise rules differ depending on whether an individual was on a fixed-term contract before or after the Act came into force on 14th July 2003. If these provisions are contravened, the worker’s contract will be deemed to be of indefinite duration. Fixed-term staff also have the same rights to training and employment opportunities as their permanent colleagues.
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