View Full Version : Acting in a Higher Role / Fixed Term Contract

07-09-2012, 02:20 PM
Is there such a thing of "the right of expectation”, because an organisation has introduced the practice of "rolling over" the acting arrangement/fixed term contract for over 24 months although the original letter of agreement was only for 12 months. The role has had the same pattern of hours and pay for over 24 months. Is it reasonable to assume that this role is now permanent?

Qld IR Consultant
07-09-2012, 03:22 PM
Never assume anything in Industrial Relations :)

A reasonable person would form the reasonable opinion that the role would be permanent, but there is a lot attached to it. Is the role still needed operationally? Was it a project role? Was it a permanent role before?...thats just a few questions....

Unions deem Contract and Casual roles as "insecure employment" because they can end at any time for no real reason other than a handshake and a pat on the back on your way out. If you are the incumbent in the role you've got 2 real options. Ask them whats happening with it. Or stay quiet and keep working and hope they forget. Ethically you should be doing the first one and asking them whats happening with it purely for your own employment security.....but I advise before you do that build a case to justify the permanency of the role so you can effectively argue a case......

Good luck!

07-09-2012, 04:09 PM
As Qld IR Consultant says, there are a lot of questions. Here's a few more ....

Is the arrangement direct with the employer or through an agency?

Does the original contract/letter have any provision for work continuing after the end of the fixed term?

You say the "organisation has introduced the practice of "rolling over" the acting arrangement/fixed term contract" - has this been formalised, or are you just assuming that they have made a concsious decision to do this?

It's a very common situation and sometimes it has simply been forgotten that this situation exists, or a manager has moved on and the replacement isn't even aware of the arrangement. On the other hand, they might be very aware of it but are saying nothing because you keep doing the job without a pay increase ;)

10-09-2012, 08:11 AM
Thankyou for the feedback. To answer some of your questions. It was a permanent role before, where the previous employee resigned. It is direct with the employer. The original letter does not have provisions for work continuing after the end of the 12 months, although it has been ongoing for over 24 months. I have asked several times previously what is happening with it and they continue to roll it over,(has been done about 4 to 5 times in the last 12 + months), it is not formalised in a letter but I do get an end date. Just before the end date, I ask again what is happening and they have normally rolled it over. They have got a remuneration policy that says after 6 months a permanent decision should be made about the acting arrangement if it is not covering a leave of absence or maternity leave.

10-09-2012, 10:43 AM
Okay, so it hasn't been forgotten and each time they roll it over they give you a new end date. In that case I wouldn't make any assumptions at all.

I was wondering if it was a case whereby someone was on maternity leave and they weren't sure whether the person was coming back, but if someone has vacated the position then there must be another reason, like a restructure being planned.

However, no matter what the reason is you shouldn't be disadvantaged because of it. If it's a position that attracts a higher salary level then you should be getting that at the very least. But given the remuneration policy you describe, you have good grounds to push for a decision.

This is of course just my non expert, humble opinion based on what you have told us. At the end of the day only you know the people involved and the possible outcomes.

There's one other thing I would like to clarify - are you a permanent employee and just temporarily acting in a higher position, or were you in a temp/contract position to begin with?

If you are a permanent employee of the organisation anyway then obviously you are in a much stronger position. However, if your employment has always been on a contract basis then the risks of forcing the issue to head is obviously much greater.

10-09-2012, 12:05 PM
Permanent Employee