Fixed-term employment contract

If you agree to a fixed-term employment relationship, you will be setting a clear end. This contractual relationship is advantageous for employers in that they can simply terminate an employee who does not perform well at the end of the period.

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Use of a fixed-term contract

Employers often use fixed-term contracts as a test of a new employee’s skills and competence. If, during this period, they determine that the employee does not meet the needs of the company, they may not continue with a longer employment relationship. Conversely, if the employee proves to be valuable, he or she may then be hired on a permanent basis.

From the employee’s point of view, fixed-term has the advantage of providing them with some flexibility. For some, it can be tempting to know that their employment has a fixed end date, which can allow them to plan for their next steps in life, such as a career change or travel. It can also be worthwhile for those looking for work on a seasonal basis or wanting to gain experience in different industries or companies.

However, it is important that employees are aware of the legal aspects of fixed-term contracts. It is essential to understand the rules and restrictions that come with this form of employment so that they can protect their rights and ensure that they are treated fairly. Although this type of contract may be suitable for some, it is a good idea to consider all options and seek the advice of a solicitor if you are unsure of your position or rights.

What are the limits for a fixed-term contract?

However, it is not possible to enter into this contractual relationship for too long. It is a legal requirement that a fixed-term contract can be agreed for a maximum of three years. It must be clearly stated in the contract for how long the contract is for. Of course, it can also be for a shorter period – for example, a one-year contract is common.

When the contract expires, the employer may decide to terminate the employment relationship, enter into an indefinite-term contract or extend the fixed-term contract. If the contract is extended, it is important to remember that it can again only be for a period not exceeding three years. However, there is also a restriction, namely that this can be done at most twice. This means that a fixed-term employment relationship can last no longer than 3 x 3 years.

If the company wants to employ you after it has exhausted its “three attempts” under this rule, it must offer you a permanent contract. According to the Labour Code, another fixed-term employment relationship can only be agreed after a further three years.

Work contract

It’s not easy to hire someone. Employment law can be complex and sometimes a small deviation from it can cause big problems later. We can help you navigate them and set up employment documents in accordance with the law.

Tip: Working time arrangements vary widely: shorter or longer hours, fixed hours, irregular hours. We will advise you on what you are entitled to under each option and what to choose if you have a choice.

Exceptions for limitations on the negotiation of contracts

However, one exception was introduced from 1 August 2013. There are employees for whom fixed-term contracts need to be negotiated more frequently. These are usually various seasonal activities that can only be carried out at certain times of the year – for example, ski lift operators, agricultural work and so on. In such justified cases, the employer may deviate from the above rules and set its own. Only if the employer has a trade union, these company rules must be agreed with the trade union.

If you are offered a fixed-term job, it is a good idea to check whether your employer has taken any exception to the statutory rules. In practice, there will not be many such companies. If your employer is not one of them, the above applies. If it does, you should familiarise yourself thoroughly with the company’s rules. In addition to these rules, the restriction on the repetition of fixed-term contracts does not apply to agency employment. That is, where you are employed by an employment agency that places you in a specific position with a particular user of their services under a temporary assignment agreement.

Whether your employer is subject to the rules of the Labour Code or has partially modified them, there is one pleasant consequence for you if you exceed the maximum permissible duration of a fixed-term contract (i.e. after a maximum of nine years). If you notify your employer in writing before the expiry of the agreed period that you insist that he continues to employ you, your employment relationship is deemed to be for an indefinite period. You will no longer be at risk if the incorrectly agreed period expires.

Tip: Have you been offered a job that will advance you financially and professionally? Have you found a job around the corner from where you live where you won’t have to commute an hour every day? Or are you just not getting along with your current boss anymore? All of these are valid reasons to quit. How do you go about getting everything done properly and without stress?

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Work contract

It’s not easy to hire someone. Employment law can be complex and sometimes a small deviation from it can cause big problems later. We can help you navigate them and set up employment documents in accordance with the law.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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