Employment contract for a definite period of time

The employment contract for a definite period of time is concluded – as the name indicates – for a fixed term agreed on by the parties. There are no statutory requirements as to the minimum length of employment under a contract of that kind.

The duration of the contract may be determined in various ways, e.g.:

  • by providing an exact closing date (day-month-year) – the most common arrangement;
  • by indicating the number of days, weeks or months;
  • by naming an event, occurrence of which terminates the contract.

The employment contract for a definite period of time comes to an end by virtue of law upon lapse of time for which it was concluded, without the need for the parties to make any representations or notices. There is no legal duty to continue employment in such a case (in particular the employee has no power to demand renewal or extension of the employment contract), but the parties may agree on further cooperation.

An employment contract for a definite period of time offers less stability and protection against termination than the employment contract for an indefinite period of time. Because of that, the Labour Code provides for a statutory mechanism to prevent employers from entering into a series of employment contracts for a definite period of time. Namely, the third consecutive employment contract of that kind between the same parties is considered, by operation of law, a contract for an indefinite period of time, provided that the intervals between the end of the preceding contract and the beginning of the following contract do not exceed 1 month. Executing an addendum extending the period of the first or second employment contract for a definite period of time counts as concluding a separate contract of that kind.

As a rule, the employment contract for a definite period of time may not be terminated before completion of time for which it was concluded. However, the parties may insert a contractual clause allowing to terminate the contract at two weeks’ notice, provided that the contract is concluded for longer than 6 months.

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