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I've just been fired - and I think it's because I work part time

(30 Posts)
Planktonette Wed 05-Mar-14 11:24:14

Hi all,

Haven't been on mumsnet for a long time, but I have a dilemma.

I'm a fixed-term contract worker at a very 'cool' organisation, and yesterday I was told my contract isn't going to be renewed.

The reasons were very loose, and the meeting was an ambush - I'd had no warning or negative feedback before being fired, I wasn't even told I had a meeting, I was just tapped on the shoulder (with a big smile, what's more).

To the extent that I was given reasons, they were about 'not getting up to speed fast enough' and 'not carrying enough weight when we've got a lot of work coming up'.

I don't think my (male, childless) managers would think of themselves as discriminatory, but I do suspect that I'm being judged on full-time standards when I'm not a full-time worker.


Has this kind of thing happened to other part-timers?

apermanentheadache Fri 07-Mar-14 20:09:39

I don't know the law on this area, but I can certainly see a hypothetical situation whereby people could misjudge a part-time employee's competence and progress ^if they were using full-timers achievements as the benchmark. Whether you have any sort of legal case I don't know, but I certainly don't think you are 'deluded'. How rude!

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 07-Mar-14 11:18:55

If OP had been there long enough to earn rights then surely that would be long enough to be proficient in the job, which is the concern the employers have.

MoreBeta Fri 07-Mar-14 10:57:28

I work on a fixed term contract. It has been renewed for the last 18 months. It is though very definitely a job that needs to be fixed term.

I have tax deducted at source and pay NI and I am treated as an employee in every respect but the job could end next month or it might roll on for years. I would have no come back though if it ended. The job is very highly specialised and it very clearly would no longer exist if the need for it no longer existed.

That is not the case being discussed in this thread.

A lot of organisations make mistakes in this area. They employ on fixed term contracts even though they know the work clearly is going to be of a long term permanent nature. Then they roll them on as the business requires it. The reason they do it is because they are transferring risk to the worker. If demand for a product or service suddenly drops because of a recession they think they can just dismiss the worker at the end of the fixed term to reduce costs with no implications. That is not the case if an employee has been on a fixed term contract that has been renewed several times. Employees gain right the longer they have been in a job and regardless of whether the contract is called 'fixed term'.

Typically the mistake is made by a lower level manager who terminates a fixed term contract when it comes to the end date to 'meet their budget' but without realising they have breached the law.

GrendelsMum Fri 07-Mar-14 10:41:55

Ah, yes - I'd forgotten about that. After a certain period of employment, you get redundancy pay if your contract isn't renewed, don't you?

MoreBeta Fri 07-Mar-14 08:50:37

The confusion comes when fixed term contracts are rolled on or renewed a few times and then suddenly terminated and not renewed.

The link posted by AnnoyingOrange explains it.

If a person has had a series of 6 month long 'fixed term contracts' that have been routinely renewed for say 2 years then they start to gain some of the rights of a permanent worker. If employers could get round employment law by just employing people on a series of fixed term contracts then no one would have a permanent job.

It really depends how long the OP has been employed like this.

GrendelsMum Fri 07-Mar-14 08:26:20

Yes, I've worked on fixed term contracts for many years in computing and education, and have always assumed I'd be moving on when they came to an end. Occasionally they're renewed for another fixed term, but it's no big deal one way or the other.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Thu 06-Mar-14 20:18:06

Does it depend on the industry ? I have employed people in computing & education on fixed term contracts for specific projects & maternity cover and they left when the contract was up.

AnnoyingOrange Thu 06-Mar-14 20:05:33

Government advice

winniethepoohpooh Thu 06-Mar-14 20:05:00

Because 'dismissal' sounds like you are getting the sack because you are crap at your job, BigPaws.

I wish people wouldn't act so high and mighty on these threads. biscuit

WipsGlitter Thu 06-Mar-14 20:03:16

Really?? I've worked on loads of fixed term contracts, including mat covers. I always work on the assumption they won't be renewed.

winniethepoohpooh Thu 06-Mar-14 20:02:56


I've been contracting for years and have never heard of that before. I do my thing, the project comes to an end and I leave. Sometimes it gets extended and I stay a bit longer. Sometimes I get offered a permanent job which I usually say no to.

I've fired a few companies myself though!

BigPawsBrown Thu 06-Mar-14 19:59:28

I wish people who don't know the law wouldn't post advice on these threads hmm

BigPawsBrown Thu 06-Mar-14 19:58:21

Sorry, a fixed term contract NOT being renewed counts as a dismissal.

Well established in law.

BigPawsBrown Thu 06-Mar-14 19:57:48

Legally though a fixed term contract or being renewed counts as a dismissal.

And a dismissal can be unfair.

winniethepoohpooh Thu 06-Mar-14 19:56:41

So if you are employed on a fixed term contract to cover maternity leave you are deemed to be fired because it is not extended or renewed? hmm

How odd.

I don't see it like that.

rallytog1 Thu 06-Mar-14 19:19:57

She IS being fired. As a pp has said, non-renewal of a fixed term contract is a dismissal in law. And she's entitled to a good reason why the decision has been made not to renew, as well as any notice period set out in her contract.

Op, how long have you been at the company? If it's longer than two years, you have more rights and protection from unfair dismissal.

idinnehaveaclue Thu 06-Mar-14 19:07:46

What? She's not being fired. A fixed term contract has an end date. Companies employ staff on fixed term contracts because they don't want a permanent member of staff (i.e. maternity, short term needs, etc.). If you're lucky, it might get extended. I had a three month contract and it was extended by a further three months and now they want me to make me permanent.

I think some of you are getting confused with fixed term contracts and permanent contracts.

flowery Thu 06-Mar-14 09:47:03

How long have you been there? Just from your comment about not having fully learned the rules and systems yet it sounds like not particularly long?

It doesn't sound as though they dismissed you because you are part time, it sounds like they dismissed you because of performance concerns.

It's not unreasonable generally for an employer to expect part time staff to perform at the same level as full time staff, but obviously if there's a specific amount of training to get through or similar, or it's extremely early days, it may or may not have been reasonable to give you a bit of leeway as a part timer before making this decision.

yummumto3girls Wed 05-Mar-14 23:21:50

Technically she has been fired!! Non renewal of a fixed term contract is a dismissal. How long have you worked there? It seems very unfair to be given these reasons at the time of dismissal and not before, to give you an opportunity to do something about it!

idinnehaveaclue Wed 05-Mar-14 18:26:20

You're not being fired. Your fixed term contract is coming to an end.

I would always work on the assumption that you will be finishing on that date and start looking for another job in plenty of time (if you need to).

I've got the opposite problem in that they want to make me permanent and I don't want to stay because the company is crap...

Geoff0409 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:48:46

I agree with Mayfairlady, you will get another job. From current experience it is horrible being the wrong fit somewhere. You are better off out of it I promise.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 05-Mar-14 12:11:36

This is why fixed term contracts for permanent work needs are such a terrible thing. An increasingly casualised workforce with far fewer employment rights is not a good thing.

It probably is discrimination because you're part time but not the kind there's legislation against. And the sort that prompts lots of people to tell you to get a grip if you question it.

Mayfairlady Wed 05-Mar-14 12:07:39

You don't sound deluded to me. I have recently had one of those ambush meetings after several years of working hard (and receiving good performance reviews) at my workplace.

My situation is different to yours, but, like you, I think it is indirectly related to me working part-time. I know where you are coming from re the ambush and the part-time aspect.

It is pretty horrible really. But if they don't perceive you to be good fit then you are better off out of that role anyway. You will find another job!

Planktonette Wed 05-Mar-14 12:06:28

Nope, not Vice. Not my style ;)

EasterHoliday Wed 05-Mar-14 11:51:03

god, it's not Vice is it?
a lot of "that type" of organisation will hire and not renew with a high rate of turnover because it's very easy to replace staff with someone who's willing to give their eye teeth for the opportunity. If you don't hit the ground running, they move along fast. It's absolutely not being "fired" but the nature of fixed term contracts means that employers can be very picky about performance / fit with the organisation.

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