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I was working full-time for many years in a company. But due to Covid-19 crisis I had to resign instead of getting fired and accepted 1 year part-time offer. And my part-time contract will end in 4 months. In the end of second month I had asked to the manager whether my contract will extended and that time she said they cannot promise anything about it and it depends on the projects. And she sounded not positive about it at all(end of June). Since then the company situation is getting better but I am scared to ask her about it again and she doesn't interact with me. I already had a feeling I don't have future in this company so I have also been applying for jobs and getting no offer after interviews. This is my summary of my story so far.

My question is when does a company inform an employee whether his contract will be extended or not? Do they inform a month before or much more before the contract ends? (I already don't have any hope but just curious)

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  • "I had to resign instead of getting fired" is already a red flag that this company doesn't care too much about you...
    – Laurent S.
    Nov 1, 2020 at 9:36
  • Seen asking get ignored, then the person leaves and the company wonders why they lost a good employee. Perhaps managers should consider answering when asked.
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 2, 2020 at 10:02

5 Answers 5

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Assume no until told otherwise.

I worked in a job where the contractor got no notice. The person managing his contract was a non-confrontational person and wanted to pass the job of telling the contractor to someone else so the contractor did not know he was not getting renewed until the contract ended. And he asked, but nobody was willing to tell him the truth, a truth which they knew for at least two months. He learned in his final week from his contracting agent as while they had filed the paperwork to not renew, they still wouldn't tell him his contract was done.

In another job, the contractor was ignored on the question until his last day and he got the message from that. Again, the person managing them didn't have the nerve to terminate them during the recession so they waited for processes to hint to the contractor that they were not wanted.

I suspect that you will not be rehired. They just don't have the nerve to tell you.

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  • It's not just about the nerves, there is very little upside to tell them ahead of time for the company (ah the motivated workers when they lose hope of being hired again).
    – Aida Paul
    Nov 1, 2020 at 7:47
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    "there is very little upside to tell them ahead of time" - wrong. See, the possible upside is that the contractor is NOT answering "ah, no, sorry, can not sign the extension because I already have contract signed after this one". I generally start looking for an extension 6 weeks before a contract end and I purely run this on a first come first serve basis.
    – TomTom
    Nov 1, 2020 at 11:29
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    @TomTom The comment is following on context of ending in the question with: "They just don't have the nerve to tell you.", hence why it starts with "it's not just about the nerves". And as always, context matters, if you want to re-hire them then yes, you want to let them know asap and it makes 100% sense.
    – Aida Paul
    Nov 1, 2020 at 17:34
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About three months before the end of the contract you start asking about the renewal date, you start looking for a contract elsewhere, and you start reducing your outgoing money as much as possible.

If you don't find a contract elsewhere, that's tough, but nothing you can do about it. If your contract is renewed, then reducing your outgoings means you have some savings, which is always good. And if your contract is not renewed, then having some savings gives you more time without running out of money.

What if you find a contract elsewhere? A decent company will tell you reasonably early what will happen. If the company doesn't, then obviously you tell them nothing. And if they tell you on the last day that they are going to renew your contract, then that is the day when you tell them that you are not renewing. If they are stuck without you, that's their own fault.

In the example from another answer (company has 20 contracts running out and the money to renew 15), the correct thing to do is telling everyone 3 months ahead what the situation is, and asking them to look for a different job and report back when they find one. And if five of the 20 found a different job, then they can renew all the remaining contracts.

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The company should inform the employee as soon as they decide to extend the contract, for the benefit of everyone involved.

The employee will benefit knowing in advance that the contract will be renewed. The company will benefit as well. Not only can they start processing the renewal with the employee, but most importantly they can avoid the nasty surprise of discovering that the employee was not interested in renewing the contract (or wanted to do so in different terms that are not agreed by the company), or even that the employee thought they were not going to renew him given their lack of notification (note that if you are not notified of a renewal, you should count that it won't be happening. Moreover, don't take it for granted until you hold a copy of the contract, signed by both parties.) and found another job elsewhere, so they are not available, despite the company actually wanting him.

That said, it's not uncommon that they will delay the notification to the "right time". For instance, the company may have 20 people in that situation, and resources to renew 15 of them. They will probably need/want to notify all of them at the same time. Thus, while they may have known from day 1 that they will be renewing Alice, Bob and Charlie, since they are the best performers, they might have to wait to tell them until the much harder decision of getting rid of John or Michael.

In some cases, the company might not tell anything until the last day, although I would consider bad manners not to advance it at least. It's also not unheard of that the manager involved told HR that an employee should be hired/renewed and counting on that, yet the employee not being notified by HR of that fact for some reason.

We could even have the opposite case of the company not notifying the end of contract, either. In that case, at least under some jurisdictions, if the employee continues working for the employer, it would automatically create an implicit contract between them (suppose nobody disabled his badge and he continued working for two months before they found he was still going there to work his job and fired him, they would owe the employee those two months wage).

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  • The "implicit contract" thing is important if the company is just badly organised, your manager/supervisor wants to keep you, but can't force his own boss to make a decision either way. These things happen.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 1, 2020 at 0:44
  • And how surprised would they be when Alice, Bob and Charlie all say sorry we have other jobs now?
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 1, 2020 at 6:03
  • Especially if Alice, Bob and Charlie are the best employees and therefore will find it easiest to get a new job?
    – gnasher729
    Nov 1, 2020 at 13:28
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Very location and contract type dependent. If there is no renewal clause in the contract, i would suggest 3 months prior to contract end, sending the renewal contract to one of the stakeholders / HR If there is no reaction within a month, check back and re-send contract

Being a contractor, you have no obligation to your counterpart beyond what is in a contract.

It is always a good policy to stay on top of opportunities in your field and location. Sometimes it produces crunches, where you have extra hours to work to accommodate all you find.

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I personally think that a company has the moral/ethical obligation to tell you whether they are going to extend your contract at least two months beforehand, so you have some time to find some other job if necessary. However if by this time you haven't heard a clear answer I think you should ask for it explicitly. It shows iniative and desire to keep working there, which might just tip the scale in some cases. Also it could very well be that your manager isn't aware your contract is expering, for you personally it's very important but for him/her it's just one of the many things in the back of his/her mind.

So summarized, yes a company does have a ethical obligation to inform you well ahead about your contract renewal, but if they don't do so ask for it yourself.

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  • I was informed that my contract won't be renewed 2 weeks before its end, while I was being praised for doing "very well".
    – BlackMath
    Nov 1, 2020 at 0:18

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