Fixed term appointments - know your rights
What is a fixed term appointment?
A fixed term appointment is when your job at a school is temporary rather than permanent and we know beginning teachers are disproportionately appointed as fixed term teachers
What you should know
Information regarding the tenure of a position should be stated in the Education Gazette advertisement for the job, as well as your letter of appointment.
If the job is fixed term, the letter of appointment should have a start and end date as well as a genuine reason as to why the job is fixed term.
What are your rights?
The law requires that all positions are permanent unless there is a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for it to be otherwise.
Reasonable grounds, mostly includes covering someone on maternity/sick/study/sabbatical leave and in some occasions the Ministry of Education has instructed the school to not appoint anyone permanently.
The law is very clear that the following are not genuine reasons:
• To exclude or limit your rights under the Employment Relations Act 2000 or the Holidays Act 2003
• To test your suitability for a job before offering you a permanent position (e.g. treating it like a trial period)
We often find schools are not providing genuine reasons for their fixed term appointments, however you have a right to know and be offered a permanent position if the reason is not genuine. If you think you’re on a dodgy fixed term agreement get in touch with your PPTA branch at school to take a look at your letter of appointment.
For more information and advice visit see our advice on appointments to teaching positions in secondary schools