Q&As

Where someone is working a fixed-term contract as maternity cover for an employee who is on maternity leave, but the role of the person on maternity leave is made redundant, what happens to the fixed-term contract?

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Published on LexisPSL on 02/07/2020

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where someone is working a fixed-term contract as maternity cover for an employee who is on maternity leave, but the role of the person on maternity leave is made redundant, what happens to the fixed-term contract?

Where someone is working a fixed-term contract as maternity cover for an employee who is on maternity leave, but the role of the person on maternity leave is made redundant, what happens to the fixed-term contract?

If the latter, then the employer can serve notice to terminate the contract for redundancy in the usual way. See Practice Notes: Contractual notice and Statutory minimum notice.

If the fixed-term contract does not provide for notice to be given during the term, this will affect the employer’s potential liabilities if it wishes to terminate the contract before its expiry, as the employee will be entitled to compensation for salary and benefits that they would have received had they remained employed until the contract was due to expire. See Practice Note: Wrongful dismissal compensation.

Where the person in the maternity cover role was a new hire, they are unlikely to have sufficient continuous employment to claim unfair dismissal (see Practice Notes: Entitlement to claim unfair dismissal and Qualifying period for unfair dismissal). However, employers are well-advised to go through a fair dismissal procedure in any event, to better protect against possible unfair dismissal claims that require no qualifying period of employment, discrimination claims and/or whistleblowing claims.

Where unfair dismissal is in issue, where the employer has, on engaging the employee, informed them in writing that their employment will be terminated when an

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