European Union – Employment. Clause 4(1) of the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded on 18 March 1999, which was annexed to Council Directive (EC) 1999/70 should be interpreted as not precluding national legislation under which the compensation paid to workers employed under fixed-term contracts entered into in order to cover working hours no longer covered as a result of a worker taking partial retirement, such as the relief contract at issue in the main proceedings, on expiry of the term for which those contracts had been concluded, was less than the compensation awarded to permanent workers on termination of their employment contract on objective grounds. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the expiry of the 'relief' employment contract under which the respondent employee had been engaged by the applicant company.