Fixed-Term Employment Relationship
A fixed-term employment relationship is, as the name implies, a contract of employment that is scheduled until a specified date. When the fixed-term employment relationship is of short duration, the employee will often not be entitled to his or her salary in case of inability to work due to illness or accident.
The fixed-term employment contract automatically ends on that date, regardless of the circumstances and personal situation of the employee. Since it is not a dismissal, the employee is not protected against termination at an inopportune juncture or a wrongful termination in case of illness or accident.
At the end of the fixed-term contract, the employer and employee sometimes wish to continue working together. They can renew the fixed-term contract. However, when the parties conclude several fixed-term employment relationships in a row, the situation can be unlawful. The employee is deprived of the protection against dismissal and of his right to salary in case of inability to work granted by open-ended contracts.
Contract renewed because the employee that the employee was a substitute for is still ill... Succession of different missions with one and the same employer... Several fixed-term contracts concluded only a few months apart... Some situations are delicate. It is not easy to know if it is an abuse of right.
Abuse of rights
From a certain number of successive fixed-term contracts between the same employer and the same employee, it may be an abuse of rights.
This can be the case when the employer uses the fixed-term employment relationship to avoid his obligations, in particular the payment of salary in case of illness or the protection from termination at an inopportune juncture. The conclusion of chain of contracts may also be unlawful when it does not meet any objective reason set out in a restrictive manner by case law.
When the succession of fixed-term contracts is unlawful, the contract will be requalified as a permanent contract, with all that this implies. The employee will benefit from the protection against terminations at an inopportune juncture and wrongful terminations. The financial consequences for the employer can be heavy.