Aren’t employees on fixed-term contracts paid more?

I
thought people on fixed-term contracts earned more basic pay than permanent
staff but this is not true in my case. I have argued for a salary increase on
the grounds that the only benefit I receive is annual holiday (and that is at a
lower rate than permanent staff) and been turned down.

Vic
Daniels, director at Carr-Lyons, writes:

Certainly
the clients we deal with factor in benefits and bonus payments and you should
not be disadvantaged. Having said this, it is easier to negotiate at the outset
rather than to try to alter your terms halfway through a contract. Depending on
the length of the un-expired term of the contract, you might be better off
leaving it on this occasion and learning from the experience. By the sound of
it, your pleas for equal treatment are falling on deaf ears anyway and I am a
firm believer of only going into a battle if I know I can win.

Margaret
Malpas, joint managing director, Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

I
can understand how you feel. I have come across people on fixed term contracts
who get more than permanent staff and people who get less. I think the answer
lies in what you are providing and how necessary you are to the organisation.

If
your skills are in short supply then you have more to bargain with. However, if
the organisation is using fixed-term contracts to increase their resources
while keeping its overheads low, I don’t think you have much to work with.

Try
to see it from your employer’s point of view and see if you can understand
their strategy. After this, I think if you really feel it’s unfair, then you
might choose to look for a deal you are happier with. 

Peter
Wilford, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

There
is a difference between being a contractor and working on a fixed term contract.
Contractors are self-employed and there are strict rules applied by the Inland
Revenue governing the definition of self-employment. Being truly self-employed
a contractor is responsible for his or her own NI and tax payments and receives
no holiday or sick pay. There are a number of complex criteria to achieve, but
essentially the contractor needs to be able to show that he or she works
independently for a number of organisations. The fact that contractors are
self-employed and have to fund pensions, holidays, sickness and any downturn in
work themselves means that they usually receive a higher rate of pay than
employees.

Your
situation falls somewhere between the two. You should seek some clear guidance
on this from the Inland Revenue in relation to your own position.

On
a broader front from your question it is not clear whether pay is the issue
here or whether you are unhappy with your role and work as a whole. You may
like to talk to your personnel department about it in relation to their own specific
policy for handling contractors’ pay and emoluments.

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