These data, then, would seem to indicate that the over-representation of women on fixed-term agreements is due to the intersection of: Fixed-term agreements being used more frequently in lower paid academic positions More women being recruited into fixed-term positions (usually lower paid academic positions and often ‘non-career’ positions). In order to understand whether or not there is any gender bias in the use of fixed-term agreements, and the recruitment of women to these positions, it would be useful to undertake further investigation in the following two areas. 1. The use of fixed-term agreements HR staff have provided the following information on fixed-term agreements at Massey University: The area of fixed-term agreements is governed by Section 66 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 which requires that a fixed-term employment agreement must be for "genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds", that the employee must agree to those reasons, and that those reasons and the way the employment agreement will end be recorded in writing as part of every fixed-term employment agreement. Genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds can be broadly defined as: Projects of a specific and limited duration Additional labour for specified peak workload periods including seasonal work Covering for absences (for example parental leave, sick leave) Development opportunity positions (Assistant Lecturers, Supernumerary positions, etc.) At Massey we also have contractual definitions for "Casual" and "Fixed-term" which use a period of 4 weeks employment as the dividing line between the two categories so that a fixed-term employee is defined as an employee who will work for a fixed period of more than four weeks with a specified end date. This work is not "as and when required" or casual work. It is work that provides employment for a specified period or reason and is of more than four weeks duration. Given the ‘rules’ governing fixed-term employment, it would be useful to explore what actually happens in practice. Possible avenues for exploration of the use of fixed-term agreements include: Taking a sample of current fixed-term agreements and checking that they meet the test of ‘genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds’ Reviewing all fixed-term agreements over the past two years to identify how many fixedterm agreements have been used to cover parental leave/sickness/specific projects, etc. Investigating the extent to which the practice of ‘rolling agreements’ has been satisfactorily addressed by recent action by Massey University particularly with respect to tutors and senior tutors77 Investigating how this relatively high use of fixed-term agreements compares with other universities
This would mean investigating the number of staff currently on a fixed-term agreement who have previously been employed on a fixed-term agreement.