Fixed term appointments

There are limits to when we can offer fixed-term appointments. These limitations are set out in the Enterprise Agreement.

Fixed-term employment refers to either:

  • employment that expires after a limited time, on its own terms
  • employment related to a specific task or project that will terminate upon a specific contingency.

Types of fixed-term employment categories

Employees can only be engaged on a fixed-term basis if their employment fits one or more of the following descriptions:

Specific task/project

  • a definable activity with clear start and finish dates
  • may include a period of employment supported by identifiable external funding
  • the length of the appointment should be the time it takes to complete the task or project
  • this appointment category may be eligible for severance pay.

Research

  • a work activity by a person engaged on research-only functions, such as research assistance or administrative support to a research program
  • the maximum appointment is five years
  • this appointment category may be eligible for severance pay.

Replacement employee

  • replacing an employee on leave or secondment, or temporarily performing the duties of a vacant position that the University has decided to fill
  • the appointment lasts until the incumbent returns or the vacancy is filled
  • this appointment category is not eligible for severance pay.

Recent professional practice

  • where a professional or vocational education curriculum requires a person with practical or commercial experience gained in the last two years
  • the maximum appointment is three years
  • this appointment category is not eligible for severance pay.

Pre-retirement

  • where an employee has declared an intention to retire, he or she may be employed up to their retirement date
  • the maximum appointment is five years
  • this appointment category is not eligible for severance pay.

Studentship

  • a CSU student may secure employment within an academic or research unit related to their course
  • employment won't be conditional on the person undertaking the studentship
  • this type of appointment won't extend beyond the year in which the person ceases to be a student
  • this appointment category is not eligible for severance pay.

Apprenticeship or traineeship

  • an apprentice or trainee may be employed as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship approved by the University or a relevant State or Commonwealth training authority
  • the appointment will last for the duration of the training program
  • this appointment category is not eligible for severance pay.

New organisational area

  • the University may offer a fixed-term contract within a new organisational area, where there is genuine uncertainty as to whether it will continue
  • the maximum appointment is two years, plus 12 months if viability is still unclear
  • this appointment category may be eligible for severance pay.

Disestablished organisational area

  • the University may offer a fixed-term contract if it has decided to discontinue the work of an organisational area or there is an unanticipated fluctuation in student numbers
  • the maximum appointment is three years
  • this appointment category may be eligible for severance pay.

Early Career Development Fellowship

  • Early Career Development Fellowships (ECDFs) can be offered to casual academic employees if:
    • they have been awarded a PhD and performed casual teaching work for the University in three entire teaching periods, over the last five years, or
    • they have been active candidates for their PhD for at least two years and performed casual teaching work for the University in five entire teaching periods over the last five years
  • the maximum term of the initial appointment is two years and may be extended for a further two years after this time
  • after four years, the University must consider converting the position to continuing
  • this appointment category may be eligible for severance pay.

Expiration of a fixed-term contract

The Enterprise Agreement requires the University to give a fixed-term employee at least three weeks notice of its intention to renew or discontinue employment at the end of the contract.

Contract extensions

Fixed term contracts can only be renewed or extended if the employee was employed through a competitive selection process and their employment has been satisfactory in all respects. The extension cannot be longer than the maximum appointment period out for that type of contract under the Enterprise Agreement.

Severance pay

Fixed-term employees may be eligible for severance on the second or subsequent contract where:

  • employment is greater than three years; and
  • performance is satisfactory; and
  • the appointment has been made under one of the following categories:
    • Specific task or project
    • Research
    • New organisational area
    • Disestablished organisational area.

Conversion from fixed-term to continuing

Conversion is available where :

  • the University has determined that continuing work is available
  • the current contract is the second or subsequent fixed-term appointment for the employee
  • the fixed-term employment has exceeded a continuous period of three years
  • the employee was originally appointed after a competitive selection process
  • the employee's performance since appointment has been satisfactory.

Break in continuous service

Breaks between fixed-term appointments of up to two times per year and of up to six weeks will not constitute breaks in continuous service.

In the event of any discrepancy between this website and the Enterprise Agreement or relevant Policy/Procedure/Guidelines, the terms of the Agreement or Policy/Procedure/Guidelines will prevail.