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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I am working in a design team of large telecommunication

Customer Question

I am working in a design team of large telecommunication company. I started my employment under fixed term contract for 1 year @07-Oct-2013, after three more extensions (1 Year, 6 Months, 2 Months) I will finally finish on 27-May-2016. The reason of this exit is that the company has outsourced the design function. So the whole design team is going to be redundant and permanent employees of this team will receive a very generous redundancy pay. But FTC employees will not. I believe my employment is ongoing type and I should also receive the redundancy. Because my FTC contract is extended for several times, the nature of work was exactly same in initial contract and later extensions and I would have reasonable expectation of continuous work if company did not outsource the design function.
Can you please advise if my claim is valid.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Initial FTC contract and further extensions have termination clause that the job can be terminated with notice at any time.7th October 2013 - Initial Fixed Term Contract for 1 Year7th October 2014 - 1st Extension of FTC for 1 Year7th October 2015 - 2nd Extension of FTC for six months. The outsourcing is announced during this period and also no more extension2nd April 2016 - 3rd extension of FTC for two months because delay in the outsourcing process
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. In order to help me advise you on your situation could you answer the following questions:1. Did you sign off on these extensions and were they all for a set further extension period?2. Why was your employer engaging you on a fixed term contract if the work was ongoing and indefinite, if you know?3. How much were you paid and what does the contract state about termination entitlements?Once you answer the above I will try to answer your question either later tonight or tomorrow.Patrick
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Answer-1) No sign off. All are extensions for doing the same job.2) Probably they tried to control resource requirement in uncertain times. Means they were unsure about resource requirement in future and tried to reduce their obligation (termination, redundancy/notice pay) by employing under fixed term contract.3) I was paid 115K per annum - the permanent employees of this team are normally paid more than this . There is no termination entitlements other than the pay for unused annual leaves. I have added a copy of the termination clause for your understanding (Clause-12).
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,Your situation is not cut and dried, but it is certainly the case that if a court or the fair work commission found that you had a reasonable expectation that the contract would be renewed or that the rolling fixed term contracts were created, not because of a genuine limitation on the period for which you were being employed, but just as a means of avoiding termination entitlements, such as redundancy or notice periods, then the commission would likely find you are entitled to such allowances on the basis that in fact you were a full time employee and not a fixed term employee regardless of what your contract states. Satisfying a court or Tribunal that you are eligible for normal full time termination entitlements certainly seems possible based on what you have said. On the face of it, your expectation of indefinite renewals may well be arguable, or alternately it seems arguable that the employer appears to have had no genuine reason for using a fixed term contract given the alleged intention to outsource didn't actually happen for almost three years after you were first employed, implying this was just a fabrication to justify fixed term contracts. In view of the above I do think it would be worth your while briefing an employment lawyer to press a claim for full time termination entitlements, such as for redundancy and the notice period. I think your case is at least strong enough that if you are represented and your case is presented firmly, a favourable settlement should be achievable.I trust the above assists.Good luck and PLEASE RATE MY ANSWER.Patrick