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End of fixed term contract & terminable by notice process: guidance for managers

The University has a specific procedure in place for the management of staff who are nearing the end of their fixed term contract.


The University has a specific procedure in place for the management of staff who are nearing the end of their fixed term contract. This procedure is contained in the Organisational Change Policy and Procedure It ensures that the University meets its legal requirements in relation to the termination of fixed term contracts and also maximises opportunities for staff on fixed term contracts to be redeployed to other suitable posts.

The procedure applies to all staff on fixed term contracts at risk of redundancy and with more than 6 months employment service other than those covered by the provisions of Statute 25 (specific academic and senior management staff) for whom the redundancy procedure set out in that Statute must be followed.

Guidance on applying the Fixed Term Contract Expiry procedure

Overview of Procedure

A staged approach to the termination of a fixed term contract will be followed and is outlined below. Please note that the termination of a fixed term contract due to the expiry of funding is treated in law as a dismissal and that the reason for dismissal is usually redundancy.

1) The individual will be written to in advance of the expiry of their fixed term contract informing them of the proposed redundancy and the reasons,

2) The individual will be invited to a consultation meeting to discuss the redundancy and the redeployment process, and

3) The individual will be informed of their right of appeal against the redundancy.

Individual Consultation

Managers/Principal Investigators (PIs) should hold an individual consultation meeting with staff who are at risk of redundancy. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the expiry of the fixed term contract, advise on the redeployment procedure and any possible alternative options within the University, and outline their right of appeal. The meeting should be held before the date that contractual notice is served.

i. Invitation to meeting

To initiate the procedure the manager/PI should invite the individual to a consultation meeting using the template invitation email (which will be provided by HR). The individual is entitled to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague at the meeting.

ii. Conducting the meeting

The manager will explain the purpose of the meeting which is to comply with the requirements of the University’s Organisational Change Policy and Procedure. The manager will confirm with the individual that they are engaged on a fixed term contract, the date that it is due to expire and the reason why it is going to expire. Unless the contract is due to be extended, the manager will explain that the University will attempt to redeploy the individual if they are served formal notice of redundancy and have more than 6 months of service. As a redeployee with more than 6 months of service, they will have priority consideration for vacant posts.

Some staff may already have secured alternative employment and will not require this redeployment option.

  • It is possible that staff who are subject to working restrictions (e.g. Tier 2) may not be eligible for redeployment.

  • If this is the case, please make a note to discuss this in more detail with HR, either before or after the meeting. If you are unsure whether working restrictions apply please contact your HR Administrator (Operations).

The meeting will provide the opportunity for the individual to raise any issues in relation to the expiry of their contract. If the individual has been continuously employed by the University for a period of over 2 years they will be entitled to a redundancy payment. However, should similar alternative employment within the University be offered to them, which they decline, a redundancy payment will not normally be made. Please note that service elsewhere in the University may count towards the qualifying period for a redundancy payment.

Employees who are redeployed to a post one grade lower than the post from which they have been made redundant will be entitled to pay protection on a mark time basis for a 12 month period.

If additional funding has been identified which will enable the contract to be extended, this will need to be discussed with the individual and a revised end date provided. No guarantees of extension should be given until funding is confirmed.

Should notice be served, then the individual will have the right to appeal to the Director of HR within 10 working days of the letter giving notice, copied into the relevant HR Manager

iii. Outcome from meeting:

At the end of the meeting, the Fixed Term Expiry Review Form needs to be completed, signed by the manager/PI and sent to HR. HR will write to the individual confirming the outcome from the meeting and advising on next steps.

Extension to contract

If the contract of employment is to be extended when the individual is under notice then the following arrangements will apply:

  • If the extension is for less than 3 months, then they will remain on the Redeployment Register until their revised contract end date, and they will not be required to attend a further individual consultation meeting.

  • If the extension is for more than 3 months and less than 6 months, then they will be removed from the Redeployment Register and will not be required to attend a further individual consultation meeting. They will become active again on the Redeployment Register once formal notice is served.

  • If the extension is for more than 6 months, they will be removed from the Redeployment Register and the full individual consultation process will be initiated at the appropriate time.

  • If you wish the contract to be extended appropriate approval will be required. For externally funded positions, approval is required from RIS (RS2 and Externally Funded Research Form). For core-funded positions approval from SVRG is required.

Notice of redundancy

HR will issue the individual with notice of redundancy and register individuals for redeployment. The University will do all that is reasonably practicable to redeploy staff and find suitable alternative employment. Redeployment applies to staff who are under notice of redundancy and have more than 6 months employment service. Detailed guidance about the redeployment procedure can be found here

If an employee has not secured alternative employment within the University by the end of their notice period, then their contract will be terminated.

The manager/PI will ensure that appropriate leaving arrangements are made. Any outstanding annual leave should be used prior to the expiry of the fixed term contract. If this is not possible then any untaken annual leave will be paid through the final salary.

Support for staff under notice

An individual under notice of redundancy is entitled to reasonable time off to look for alternative employment or to arrange training. This needs to be agreed with the manager.

  • Advice on interview skills and career management can be found on the University’s Development Toolkit

  • Other useful learning resources are available to borrow from the Staff Development Unit.

  • The Research Development Unit is available to assist and support researchers with interview skills or guidance on making funding applications.

  • A confidential counselling service is available for staff