Member fights unnecessary fixed-term contract

12 November, 2020

An IEU member in a Queensland Catholic School is fighting for a full-time permanent position, after working the same hours in the same role on a fixed-term contract for a number of years.

The member in question has been a teacher, working in a school for the past four years.

Prior to their appointment, the role was a permanent position; however, the employer maintains that it is a ‘specially funded position’.

After being told their contracted hours would be reduced for 2021, the member called our union to double-check whether this was genuine and if the position should be a permanent.

IEU Industrial Services Officer Rosey Cavallaro said the member was right to contact our union for advice on this matter.

“Fixed-term contacts should only be used in specific circumstances and the new Queensland Catholic School agreements provides more clarity on the circumstances which constitute genuine short-term needs,” Rosey said.

“Our union made representations on the member’s behalf to their employer questioning why the position was fixed-term rather than permanent, particularly given the position had previously been permanent and had not changed hours year-to-year.

“The employer could not provide sufficient reason as to why and ultimately made the member permanent full-time.”

Fixed-term contracts have professional and personal toll

The use of rolling fixed-term contracts is a major issue in our schools – locking many employees into the uncertainty of insecure work for years.

IEU-QNT members have shared the often devastating impact insecure work has on their personal and professional lives.

A key member win in the recent Queensland Catholic School collective negotiations was clearer limits on the use of fixed-term contracts to only genuine short-term needs.

Genuine short-term needs include:

  • Replacing another employee on leave.
  • Temporary changes cause by a specific short-term factor.
  • Special projects with a specific end date.
  • Short-term funding of a specific position.

Fixed-term contracts should also not be used as a probationary period.

A member fact sheet on these new provisions and key actions that all IEU Chapters in Queensland Catholic schools can be accessed by contacting our union via or by contacting your organiser.

Our union is continuing to fight for better protections against insecure work and particularly rolling fixed-term contracts across the sector.

We encourage any member who is unsure of their fixed-term contract to contact our union for advice and support on FREECALL 1800 177 937 (QLD) or 1800 351 996 (NT).

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