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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am currently in month 10 of a 12 month fixed term contract

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I am currently in month 10 of a 12 month fixed term contract for maternity leave cover.I am employed as a HR Advisor. In December following a performance review where I achieved all goals set I asked to be paid the same as the job holder, as my package is app £18K less than the permanent job holder when salary and benefits are calculated. I was told that was the salary for the job and if I needed help to ask. Today I received a HR memo to advice that all fixed term employees should be entitled to join the pension scheme after a three month probationary period. I queried this as I had submitted a pension application form in Sept 2013 and was told Fixed term employees were not permitted to join the scheme. I asked about this and was told it was an area that was previously unknown to the HR team, and pension contributions could not be backdated. The amount that would have been put into my pension pot was 4% EE 6% ER just over £1,200. I was told that I can join the pension scheme now but the current scheme is now 1% EE and ER.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Generally, fixed term employees can enjoy a vast majority of equality in terms when compared to permanent employees.


The law that deals with this equality of terms is The Fixed-term Employees Regulations, which also require employers to offer fixed-term employees access to occupational pension schemes on the same basis as permanent staff. That is unless different treatment can be objectively justified.


Government guidance states that an employer may be able to justify excluding a fixed-term employee from membership of a pension scheme where the initial vesting period and/or service qualification is longer than the fixed-term employee’s contract. In addition the justification would be strengthened if the employer can show that including the employee would be disproportionately expensive and/or of little benefit to the employee as they would not receive any contributions before the expiry of their contract.


It is suggested that an employer increases a fixed-term employee's salary by a sum equivalent to the value of pension contributions made on behalf of a permanent member of staff as a way of ensuring that their overall package of terms was equivalent and/or to objectively justify not providing them with access to the pension scheme.


So it is possible to challenge the employer over this – the first step is the internal grievance procedure, after which you are potentially looking at a claim in the employment tribunal.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks


Thank you


I did want to know if under the Fixed Term regs as well as pension if I am doing the exactly the same job as the permanent post holder should I be paid the same salary, bonus, healthcare, holidays. What reason would the company have for not paying this.

Ben Jones :

The protection is a general one where you are entitled to be treated no less favourably than comparable permanent employees. So if for example you are being paid less or receiving other lesser benefits just because of your fixed term status then that is potential unfavourable treatment. Again, like my earlier advice, it can be defended if the employer can objectively justify it

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