Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

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Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2034) form a UK statutory instrument aimed to protect employees who have fixed-term contracts. It is meant to implement the Fixed-term Work Directive 1999 (99/70/EC) on fixed term workers.


The principle of the Directive on which the Regulations are based is simple: a person with a fixed-term contract should not be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent co-worker.


It is argued that Regulations fail adequately to implement the requirements of the directive, because they do not protect the full range of "workers" that the directive refers to. In UK labour law, the definitions of "worker" and "employee" are not the same (see s.230 Employment Rights Act 1996), and the concept of a "worker" is considered broader. But the Regulations are said to apply merely to the thinner category of "employees".

Also, r.2(2) provides that "an employee is not a comparable permanent employee if his employment has ceased". But in a decision by the European Court of Justice, Macarthy v. Smith [1980] ECR I-01275, it was held that a woman could compare herself for the purpose of Art. 119 of the EC Treaty (now Art. 141, the equal treatment provision on which the FTW Directive is based) with her predecessor in employment.

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  • Aileen McColgan, 'The Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002: Fiddling While Rome Burns?' [2003] 32 ILJ 194

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