What is a fixed-term employment contract?

A fixed-term employment contract is a type of employment agreement that specifies a predetermined end date for the employment relationship. Unlike a permanent or ongoing employment contract, where the employment relationship is ongoing until either the employer or the employee terminates it, a fixed-term contract has a defined period of employment.

Key features of a fixed-term employment contract may include:


The contract will outline the specific start and end dates of the employment period. It could be for a certain number of weeks, months, or years.


The contract may or may not allow for renewal. If the employer and employee agree to extend the employment beyond the initial term, they may enter into a new fixed-term contract or switch to a permanent arrangement.


The contract should specify the conditions under which the employment can be terminated before the end date. This could include factors such as mutual agreement, completion of a specific project, or other agreed-upon circumstances.

Rights & responsibilities

The rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee during the fixed-term period should be clearly outlined in the contract. This includes details about salary, benefits, working hours, and any other relevant terms and conditions.

Fixed-term contracts are often used for temporary or project-based work, seasonal employment, or to cover the absence of a permanent employee (e.g. parental leave or sabbatical). It's important for both employers and employees to understand the terms of the contract, including the implications of the fixed-term nature of the employment.

It's worth noting that Australian employment law provides certain protections to employees, even those on fixed-term contracts, and these protections may vary depending on the applicable industrial awards, enterprise agreements, or other legal instruments. It's advisable for both employers and employees to seek legal advice or consult relevant industrial relations authorities to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

As employment laws can change over time, it's important to refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, click the button below to read our article on what an employment contract should include.

What is a fixed term employment contract?

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