REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT
Section 186(1b)(ii) of the Labour Relations Act effectively provides for employees on fixed-term contracts to claim to have reasonable expectations of being made permanent. Three related questions that are commonly asked are: (1) “How many times must a fixed term contract have already been renewed before the employee can use these renewals to justify a reasonable expectation of permanence?” and (2) “Is the number of previous renewals of the contract really the primary or even relevant factor in determining a reasonable expectation of permanence? And (3) “What circumstances in fact give rise to a truly reasonable expectation of permanence that have normally persuaded arbitrators to force an employer to make an employee permanent?”
Question 1: There’s no specific number but the level of expectation would be high even after the first renewal. In the absence of other justifications, the renewal for a second time would almost guarantee a permanent employment status or at least further renewals.
Question 2: Previous renewals are relevant and as stated earlier, even a single renewal could be decisive.
Question 3: Factors include evidence of an employer’s oral or written statements of intention to renew the FTC after expiry; whether the FTC is on the facts a disguised permanent employment contract; whether the work is still required; whether other employees on similar FTC’s have had their contracts renewed or made permanent; whether the employer has subsequently replaced the FTC employee with another employee on FTC to do the same work.