The Remarkable Difference Between Fixed Term Contacts and Teachers’ Fixed Term Contracts

If I was working on a fixed term contract, and I wasn’t a teacher, I would be really incensed.

Teachers’ fixed term contracts are different

Let me explain.

In order for a worker on a fixed term contract to be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration-similar to a permanent contract-the law states that 2 conditions must be met.

Firstly, that I have been employed on at least 2 fixed term contracts.

And secondly, that I have at least 4 years continuous employment in the position. (Source: Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003).

But that’s not the case for teachers.

Because since December, 2013 teachers only required 3 years’ continuous service to qualify for a CID (Source: Circular letter 64/2013) .

And things are about to get better.

Expert Group Recommends Big Improvement for Teachers

Because this week a report by an “expert group”, chaired by Senior Counsel Peter Ward, established under the Haddington Road agreement to look at public sector pay and productivity promised to make life even better for teachers.

One of its recommendations is that teachers become entitled to a CID after only 2 years continuous service.

So an ordinary worker who isn’t a teacher needs 4 years continuous service to qualify for a CID. A teacher currently only needs 3 years and will only need 2 years from the beginning of the 2015 school year.

And it gets better for teachers.

Because one of the ways that an employer can prevent an employee from being entitled to a CID is if he can objectively justify the non awarding of a CID. One way this objective justification could arise is if the employee was covering or filling in for someone on a career break or secondment.

But thanks to the “expert group” this barrier won’t stand in the way of teachers.

Because they recommend:

“With regard to teachers covering for others on a career break or secondment, the report recommends that these individuals should not be disqualified from entitlement to a contract of indefinite duration on that ground.”

The law surrounding the entitlement to a contract of indefinite duration has been set out in Statute since 2003 with the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003. Remarkably this law hasn’t applied to teachers since December 2013.

Is this fair?

Is it moral?

Do teachers endure such ghastly working conditions compared to other workers that this non application of the law is justified?

It would be hard to make that argument for 3 reasons:

  1. A job for life
  2. A good pension
  3. Incredible holidays.

The Minister for Education (and former teacher), Jan O’Sullivan, has agreed to implement the recommendations of the expert group.

She will hardly meet with any resistance at the cabinet table from the Taoiseach or Minister for Finance who are both former teachers.

What do you think?