Publication Date



[Excerpt] The abuse of fixed-term contracts raises various concerns. In most countries, fraud related to these contractual practices may occur when they are used for activities whose nature is not temporary or when they are renewed for longer periods or with a higher number of renewals than those permitted by law.

These concerns were already present at the end of the 1990s, when some provisions were taken at European level to address the issue. In order to improve the quality of fixed-term work and to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts (excluding apprenticeship and training schemes and temporary agency work contracts), the interprofessional European social partners’ organisations concluded the European framework agreement on fixed-term contracts on 18 March 1999 (ETUC et al, 1999), later transposed into Directive 1999/70/EC. The directive: sets out a general principle of non-discrimination against fixed-term employees compared with permanent employees;details responsibilities on the part of the employer in terms of informing workers on fixed-term contracts about vacancies in the organisation; and sets out measures aimed at preventing abuses.

In particular, the directive requires Member States to introduce one or more of the following measures:

  • objective reasons justifying the renewal of fixed-term contracts

  • the maximum total duration of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships

  • the number of renewals of such contracts or relationships.


Suggested Citation
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. (2017). Fraudulent contracting of work: Abusing fixed-term contracts (Belgium, Estonia and Spain). Dublin: Author.