Fixed Term Contract Employment Law Australia

Fixed-term contract employment is defined as the employment of a worker on a contract basis for a specified period of time. In Australia, fixed-term contract employees are entitled to certain employment rights and protections, just like any other employee. However, there are specific laws and regulations that govern fixed-term contract employment in Australia that you need to be aware of as an employer or employee.

In this article, we`ll be diving into the Australian employment laws that affect fixed-term contract employment.

What is a fixed-term contract?

A fixed-term contract is an employment agreement that has a set end date or a specific project completion date. These contracts are commonly used when a company needs to hire an employee for a specific period to complete a particular job or project. Fixed-term contracts can also be used to cover staff shortages or seasonal work.

Australian laws on fixed-term contracts

The Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) is the primary legislation governing employment in Australia. The FWA provides specific employment rights and protections for most workers, including fixed-term contract employees. Here are some of the key areas that employers and employees need to be aware of:

1. Reasonable notice period

Employers are required to provide fixed-term contract employees with reasonable notice of the end of their employment. The notice period will depend on the length of the contract. In general, an employer must provide notice equal to the length of the contract if it is less than 12 months. If the contract is longer than 12 months, the notice period must be at least 4 weeks.

2. Redundancy entitlements

If a fixed-term contract employee’s employment is terminated due to redundancy, they are entitled to redundancy payments. To be eligible for redundancy payments, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months.

3. Unfair dismissal protection

Fixed-term contract employees who have worked for an employer for at least 6 months may be eligible for protection against unfair dismissal. If an employee can show that they were unfairly dismissed, they may be entitled to reinstatement or compensation.

4. Equal remuneration

Employers must ensure that fixed-term contract employees are paid the same as permanent employees for equivalent work. This includes pay rates, allowances, and other entitlements.

5. Protection against discrimination

Fixed-term contract employees are protected from discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) and the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975. Discrimination can include sexual harassment, racism, ageism, and ableism.

6. Leave entitlements

Fixed-term contract employees are entitled to the same leave entitlements as permanent employees. This includes annual leave, sick leave, and parental leave.


In conclusion, fixed-term contract employment in Australia is subject to a range of legal requirements designed to protect the rights of employees. Employers must ensure they comply with these laws to avoid legal consequences, while employees should be aware of their rights and entitlements under the law. As a professional, it`s important to cover all the key areas that employers and employees need to be aware of regarding fixed-term contract employment in Australia.

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