Fixed-term contract

Fixed or determinable term

As the name implies, a fixed-term contract is entered into for a fixed or determinable term.

A contract concluded until the completion of a project, until the return of an employee from sick leave or until the end of the season... The distinction between an open-ended contract and a fixed-term contract is not always easy.

End of the contract

When it is a fixed-term contract, it automatically ends at the end of the planned duration without the need for termination. Pregnancy, illness, accident... The employee is not protected against termination at an inopportune juncture.

Early termination

With a fixed-term contract, both the employer and the employee often want to ensure that the contract will not be terminated before the contractual deadline. However, when the employment relationship turns sour, the parties sometimes find themselves stuck.

When the continuation of the employment relationship is no longer possible, there are solutions. Under certain conditions, the employer and the employee can agree to terminate the contract before the planned date. This termination agreement is subject to strict conditions of validity. An termination with immediate effect is only possible in case of serious misconduct.

Minimum/maximum duration contracts

Minimum or maximum duration contracts are somewhat special contracts. They can be very useful in certain situations. This can be the case when the employer wants to hire a replacement but does not know until when the employee will be sick or if he/she wants to make sure that the contract will end at the end of the season...

There is another type of contract that the parties can enter into that will allow them to terminate the contract early while ensuring that the contract will end at a certain date anyway. This is the maximum duration contract. This contract has many advantages for the company.

These contracts mix the characteristics of open-ended and fixed-term contracts. It is sometimes difficult to know whether ordinary termination is possible and whether the employee is protected against termination at an inopportune juncture, especially in the event of pregnancy or illness.

Probationary period

In contrast to an open-ended contract, there is no presumption of a probationary period in a fixed-term contract. The possibility of introducing a trial period exists but is limited, given the sometimes short duration of the fixed-term contract.

Prohibition of chain contracts

Many employees' rights depend on the duration of the employment relationship. Salary in case of illness, protection against termination at an inopportune juncture or wrongful termination... These rights are limited or even non-existent in the context of a fixed-term contract which places the employee in a sometimes precarious situation.

The employer may be tempted to conclude successive fixed-term contracts instead of a permanent contract. Beware of the consequences if such a procedure is considered as abusive!

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