Be clear about contracts

Regarding your article entitled "New rights for casual staff" (FE Focus, July 14), for the benefit of readers it is important for the Association of Colleges to make some clarifications.

It is inexact to state that "new regulations offering hourly-paid lecturers and those on short-term contracts the same rights as full-time staff came into force on Monday (July 10)". The regulations apply to all employees engaged on fixed-term contracts, some of whom, but by no means all, will be hourly paid.

Similarly, Roger Kline's statement regarding affected contracts that "the essence is that they are temporary" is not wholly accurate. The important factor that needs to be considered is the fixed-term nature of the contract. Not all temporary contracts are fixed-term.

It is not a given that after July 10 if lecturers "have four years'

service, they will move to permanent contacts". Rather, it is only when his or her contract is renewed after reaching four years' service that the renewed contract is normally deemed to be permanent. For the purpose of counting four years' continuous service, the regulations only count service which has accrued since July 10, 2002.

Neither is it the case that "this type of temporary contract is going to come to an end". It is clear from the regulations and case law that as a general point, the use of fixed-term contracts is perfectly legitimate, and the continued use of them even after four years' service will continue to be lawful in certain cases.

Evan Williams,

Employment manager

Association of Colleges

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