POSTED: October 12 2018
Term time contracts

Term time contracts

Flexible working is now considered a big benefit for employees, and for some a necessity for them to be able to carry on working. Therefore a consideration for companies could be term time contracts, advo hr details how term time contracts could work for both employees and employers.

Term-time contracts are useful for working parents whose children have school holidays for an average of 13 weeks a year. These contracts allow employees to cut down on the hours they work or allow them to take time off during school holidays.

With October half term looming and Christmas holidays not far behind, the organisation of childcare during this period is probably going through many parents minds.

Childcare costs are extremely high and sometimes this means that one of the parents has a hard decision to make: leave their job or pay for childcare. When they balance the pros and cons, work can often be the one that loses out.

Realistically, the only way they can stay in employment is if their employer accepts some form of flexible working.

Benefits for the employer:

  • Retain key staff.
  • Attract a wider pool of candidates.
  • Reduce absenteeism.
  • May be a cost-effective option if peaks and troughs in your business coincide with the school calendar.
  • Can increase staff loyalty and lower staff turnover, reducing recruitment costs.
  • Retain tacit knowledge, which reduces training costs.

Things to consider before implementing:

  • It could put pressure on staff who are not on term-time only contracts not to take annual leave during school holidays.
  • Possibly need to hire temporary staff during the school holidays.
  • A term-time only employee will effectively be taking unpaid leave for the difference between the time-off they actually take and their paid holiday entitlement. An employee who works only during term-time will usually take their holiday entitlement only during the school holidays.
  • Consideration needs to be given to whether a term-time only employee can take holiday during term-time – if you do decide to allow this, then you could either deduct the hours not worked from your employee’s salary or require the employee to make up the lost hours.
  • As a term-time working arrangement is designed to assist employees with school-age children, its appropriateness will be reviewed annually. It is expected that, once term-time working is no longer required, employees will agree to a revised working arrangement with the organisation.

Although there is no right to term-time working, refusal in certain circumstances could constitute indirect discrimination on grounds of sex. As more women than men bear the principal burden of child care, refusing a request on these grounds could give rise to a claim of indirect sex discrimination. However, indirect discrimination can be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


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