Human Resources

Redundancy and dismissal

When a fixed-term contract comes to an end and is not renewed or extended, this constitutes a dismissal under English law.  The reason for the dismissal will vary from case to case.  However, the two main reasons for a dismissal of this sort will be ‘redundancy’, or ‘some other substantial reason’.  These are explained below:


The expiry of a fixed-term contract may be considered to be a redundancy if the work for which the individual was employed has diminished, or ceases to exist.  This would cover projects, which have run their course, or research funded work that has come to an end due to an absence of funding.

In these cases, the employee may be entitled to a redundancy payment provided that they have a minimum of two years continuous service with Birkbeck at the date their employment ends.  The redundancy payment will be based on the statutory calculation.  The redundancy calculation and some worked examples can be found in the appendix.

Some other Substantial Reason

Individuals who are employed to cover another member of staff’s absence, and whose contracts expire on the return of that individual would come under this dismissal.  In these circumstances, no redundancy payment would be payable as this does not constitute a redundancy situation.

back to top
The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email:; Fax: 020 7380 3172.