A fixed-term employment contract (or CDD) is an employment contract by which an employer (company, enterprise...) recruits an employee for a limited period of time. Such contracts are possible only to perform a specific, temporary task, and only in those cases set out by law. For example, a fixed-term employment contract may be used : to replace an employee who is absent or provisionally working part time (parenting leave...), or to replace an employee who has not yet taken up their position. It may also be used in the event of a temporary increase in the activity of the company, for seasonal work or for State-aided employment within the framework of employment support measures.
It must be drawn up in writing and may be for a "specified term" (the contract defines an end date and therefore a duration) or an "unspecified term" (for replacements of employees on sick or maternity leave, for example), in which case it must specify a minimum duration. It ends on the date set at the outset or, in the absence of such a specified term, when the purpose for which it was signed is fulfilled (return of the employee being replaced...). The maximum total duration of the fixed-term contract (which may be renewable once) is generally 18 months (or 24 months in certain cases) and varies according to the grounds on which the contract was signed.
A fixed-term employment contract cannot be used to fill a job linked to the normal, permanent activity of a company on a lasting basis. If such a contract is signed outside the legal framework, it may be requalified as an open-ended employment contract by the courts at the request of the employee, along with appropriate severance payment.