In order to temper the above concerns the Staff Representation made a proposal to the working group, based on feedback from colleagues on fixed-term contracts.
In this proposal the Staff Representation has gone to great lengths to try to reach a balanced solution that ensures long-term sustainability and flexibility while mitigating the effects of fixed-term contracts. The proposal is in line with the goals of the Strategic Plan 2023 and fosters some of the core value of the EPO: Fairness, Trust and Collaboration.
The main points of the proposal are the following:
- 5 years is enough: after 5 years conversion should be the rule, extension the exception, 5-year contracts provide enough flexibility for planning.
- Notice period of 1 year for decision on conversion and extension: it indirectly reduces staff turnover and is an important requirement for proper life planning.
- Transparency and clarity: Transparent and clear criteria and processes for conversion/extension; involvement of staff representation in the process.
- Balance of interests: The interest of the employee should also be taken into account, not only the interest of the organisation.
- Equal treatment: no undue pressure on colleagues on fixed-term contracts; colleagues on fixed-term contracts should feel they are part of the organisation.
These points and their principles are also in line with the general principles regarding fixed-term contracts highlighted by the international jurisprudence (ILOAT, CJEU, etc…)
 “On fixed-term contracts”, Part D; Central Staff Committee, 25.05.2021.
 Ulrich, Gerhard. The Law of the International Civil Service: Institutional Law and Practice in International Organisations, Duncker & Humblot, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central, pp 210-213.
Beside fixed-term contracts there are some other forms of job insecurity at the EPO that should be mentioned and have the tendency to fall under the radar. I am referring primarily to the Pan-European Seal Professional Traineeship, intended to offer