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Policy for research staff on fixed-term contracts

Research Staff at King's are postdoctoral staff, research assistants, technicians and teaching fellows, in fact all those other than PhD students who are engaged in research or teaching and who do not yet have an independent, permanent academic or managerial position.

For current King's research staff employed on a fixed-term, you can access the university's policy and guidance on these roles here.

If you are interested in applying for a fixed-term position at King's, the following FAQs cover some of the most common questions about employment rights for staff on fixed term contracts.

Is the notice period for fixed-term contracts the same as for permanent & open-ended contracts?

Yes.

A member of staff wishing to resign should give King's notice as outlined below:

  • Grades 1 to 4: four weeks’ notice in writing
  • Grades 5 to 8: twelve weeks’ notice in writing

King's may terminate employment by giving the member staff notice as outlined below:

  • Grades 1 to 4: Second, third and fourth year of continuous employment - four weeks’ written notice of termination of employment. Subsequent years up to and including 12 years of continuous employment - an additional week’s notice for each subsequent year of continuous employment up to a maximum of twelve weeks’ notice after twelve years’ continuous employment.
  • Grades 5 to 8: twelve weeks’ notice in writing

For more information please read the harmonised Terms and Conditions of employment for non-academic staff.

What is the parental leave policy for staff on fixed-term contracts?

Staff employed on fixed-term contracts have the same entitlement to maternity leave as other staff:

This entitles mothers to 52 weeks' leave, commencing any time from the beginning of the 11th week before the baby is due (also known as the Expected Week of Childbirth, EWC) to the actual date of birth.

The Shared Parental Leave and Pay Scheme enables eligible parents to convert part of the mother's / main adopter's untaken maternity / adoption leave and pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay, and share this (up to a maximum of 50 weeks' leave and 37 weeks' pay) between them.

However, there are certain policies regarding maternity pay relative to when your fixed-term contract ends:

If the fixed-term contract ends before the 15th week before the baby is due, the staff member will not be entitled to maternity pay from the university but may be eligible for  Maternity Allowance from the Government.

If the fixed-term contract ends after the 15th week before the baby is due, and the staff member is eligible for maternity pay under the university's Occupational Maternity Leave Scheme, the university will honour the staff member's entitlement to maternity pay. The contract of employment will still end on the original end date. Contracts are not usually extended unless an extension can be agreed for other reasons.

If the fixed-term contract expires whilst on maternity leave, and the staff member cannot return to the university because of the expiry of the fixed-term contract, providing they state their intention to return to work before commencing maternity leave, where eligible, any maternity pay will be calculated on the basis that they will be returning to work. An employee in this situation will not be required to repay any of the Occupational Maternity Pay that is usually repayable if they do not return to work and complete three months' service. This also applies if the fixed-term contract expires during that three month period.

For more detailed information, including information about the Parenting Leave and Carers' Fund and Carers' Career Development Fund, is available here.

What is the process by which staff on fixed-term contracts can be transferred to a permanent contract?

It is not lawful for employers to employ staff on successive contracts exceeding 4 years unless there are objective reasons for doing so and it can be demonstrated that a further fixed-term contract is:

  • to achieve a legitimate objective
  • necessary to achieve that objective
  • an appropriate way to achieve that objective

As an employee, you have the right to request a written statement demonstrating that a further fixed-term contract satisfies these requirements. The statement must be provided by the line manager within 21 days of the request.

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Centre for Research Staff Development