IT contractors could sue for redundancy payments when their contracts have finished, following an employment tribunal ruling last month.
Contractors at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) won a ruling from the South London Employment Tribunal that they should be paid redundancy when their contracts expire next year.
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The ruling could be used by IT contractors with fixed-term contracts of four or more years. Contractors who have worked for the same employer on rolling contracts since 10 July 2002 could claim redundancy pay if employers fail to renew contracts that expire after 10 July next year.
The employment tribunal's ruling is one of the first to award contractors redundancy money under the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.
Trade body the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) has advised its members not to push claims for redundancy payments after their contracts end.
PCG chairman Simon Juden said, "The PCG's recommendation is don't do it. There may, however, be some people who fall outside of that."
Naomi Branston, employment and pensions associate at law firm Taylor Wessing, said that when assessing eligibility for redundancy pay, employment tribunals would look for:
lEvidence that the contractors were expected to turn up at work and be provided with work
lProof they were only allowed to work for the same employer
lThe existence of an employee working for the same employer in a comparable job
Agency workers are unable to claim redundancy under the regulations, Wessing said.