If you own a landscaping company, we assume that you do not have to do every task and job yourself and as such you employ others within your business. When employing landscapers you have several options as to what type of employment you offer them which includes full-time or part-time positions, and you can also offer either a normal employment contract or a fixed-term contract. It is the latter, a fixed-term contract, that we are going to examine further.

Fixed Term Contracts Explained

The concept is very simple and more or less explained by what they are called. A fixed-term contract is one where the period over which the individual’s employment with you has finite time which is defined within their contract. Their use includes when a business has periods when it is extremely busy and others when they are quieter. A prime example of this is a retailer who may employ fixed-term staff to help over the busy Christmas period but no longer than that.

Whilst landscaping can be somewhat seasonal, with such a business you are more likely to use a fixed-term contract based on specific projects. For example, you might have a landscape design project which requires more manpower than most jobs so you might take on one or two more employees to work on that landscaping project until its completion with a fixed-term contract as the basis of their employment.

Key Points To Consider About Fixed Term Contracts In Your Landscaping Business

One of the first points to consider is that fixed-term contracts are not advised if you keep re-employing the same person continuously. The risk here is that they may come to be regarded as a full-time employee if they have been given a series of fixed-term contracts one after the other.

The problem you have then is that, as a full-time employee, benefit entitlements will become applicable and you would then be expected to provide them maternity leave, paternity leave, and sick leave, and also give them the minimum notice period to end their contract.

If this were to happen, you would not be the first employer to be taken to an employment tribunal by someone who had worked for them for months or even years via fixed-term contracts for them to be then deemed a full-time employee and given the rights they are entitled to. This can even cover unfair dismissal, so ensure you do not get caught in this trap.

Fixed Term Contracts From The Employee’s Perspective

When an employee has a fixed-term contract they should reasonably expect that this will be honoured and thus run for the full period stated in that contract. It may be possible to end the contract early by agreement but only if you were to pay the employee what they would have been had the contract been completed. Otherwise, they could lodge a legal claim and likely win it if you cannot show valid and lawful reasons for the early termination.

Early Termination Of Fixed Term Contracts

As you can imagine, ending a fixed-term contract early can open a can of worms for an employer. That is not to say it cannot be done, but there have to be valid reasons rather than you just deciding on a whim that you want to let the employee go.

The usual reason for you being able to end the fixed term contract of someone working for your landscaping business is a breach of contract by them such as them frequently arriving on site late. In addition, serious misconduct such as theft, or not performing their role to a satisfactory level, could also be cited as valid reasons to end a fixed-term contract early.

The final reason would be a genuine redundancy. This would apply if there were material changes to your business and the completion of their contract was no longer possible. An example would be if a client cancelled the job early, or in the worst case, if your landscaping company were going out of business.