King’s College London Redundancy

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King’s College London Redundancy

King’s College London Redundancy


Academic Staff, Regulation pertaining to Redundancy Procedure

Regulation pertaining to redundancy policy and procedures for members of academic staff, made pursuant to the College’s Ordinance relating to Dismissal, Grievance Procedures and Related Matters for Academic Staff.


Document profile

Document type Regulation
Document theme(s) Staff
Document keywords Human Resources Management,Employee Contract Management,Staff Performance Appraisal & Review,Employee Relations
Document status Current
Date approved 26 November 2013
Date of next review 27 November 2018
Document owner Human Resources Directorate
Document approved by College Council

Fixed-term contracts

Fixed-term contracts can mean poor job security and inferior terms and conditions compared to permanent contracts. They can damage the possibility of career progression for staff, erode academic freedom and increase vulnerability and the risk of exploitation.

The law can help

The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 were introduced to prevent fixed term employees from being treated less favourably than comparable permanent employees and to limit the use of successive fixed-term contracts.

The regulations state:

  • the ending of a fixed-term contract should be treated as a redundancy (e.g. relevant notice periods, procedures and redundancy payments should be applicable)
  • fixed term staff should not be discriminated against
  • permanent contracts should be the norm and the use of successive fixed term contracts should be ‘objectively justified’

What does this mean?

Any differential treatment of fixed-term and permanent staff must be justified on grounds other than the contract being fixed term or permanent. For example, a new contract cannot be used as a kind of renewed probation, or if there are concerns about staff performance these must be raised with the appropriate college procedures.

All employers have an obligation to avoid redundancy for any member of staff, fixed term or otherwise. The end of a contract does not solely justify making a particular employee redundant.

Your employer is the College – not your department, research group or funding body. It must demonstrate that the redundancy cannot be avoided by moving the employee in to new duties or a new post. Many staff would be capable of satisfying the job requirements of more than one post. In fact it makes sense for the College to retain the skills and experience of existing staff members.

If funding earmarked for a project is ending or duties are diminishing it may be possible, for example, to find funds from other sources. Redundancy should be the last option for the employer.

Can I get a permanent contract?

The regulations mean that with 4 years’ continuous service and 2 or more fixed term contracts you should be able to consider your contract permanent unless there is ‘objective justification’. The recent case of Ball vs Aberdeen University ruled against using fixed term funding as objective justification.

You have a right to ask for a written statement confirming whether you are a permanent employee. A model letter and further information can be found on the UCU website.

Some universities have implemented policies where fixed term staff members are automatically given permanent contracts. This will not solve all the problems faced by fixed term staff but it will be a step forward.

What can I do?

Join your union. Although the legal position has changed we need to defend each other to make sure fixed term staff members are treated better in practice.

Research staff: Get involved with the King’s Researchers’ Campaign.

If you manage research staff: please read the UCU leaflet (PDF, 4 pages) for PIs & managers of fixed-term contract staff.


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