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Please advise Dumb blonde on work issues ;)

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I work for a GP. (Reception, Admin, Vuneralble Patients) I am currently working 2 days and work somewhere else 4 days. We have a signed contract mine is 6 years old. Have just been told that we are having new contracts that state:


a)No sick pay will be paid only SSP


b)If we want annual leave we have to get cover first and if no one can cover for us we cant take AL


c)If ur children are sick this is to be taken in AL and we cannot make up the time.


My problem is this - I cannot cover other shifts ther than mine as I have a job in a different organisation. (Have had this 2nd job ince I started at Docs) Therefore as I cannot cover when requested, very few people are happy to cover my shifts, in turn they are saying i have to not take AL!


Is this legal?


Any advice would be greatly received.


Thanks in advance

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Hi Mrs W,


Firstly specifically in reply to point C, probably not.


There is a statutory right to Dependant Leave (Google this for more info), and I fail to see how a clause could be drafted that would cover you being on AL when your child is ill and covered by 'Dep Leave', and the times when your son was ill and was not covered and thus you have to take as AL.


Perhaps the above is not very clear, and this is because with a statutory right such as the right to 'Dep Leave', I always advise that you must take each occasion on a case by case basis. For example child falls ill due to a relapse from a known underlying condition = not covered, Child falls ill unexpectedly and no-one elese can care = probably covered.


As regards A & B, you don't tell us if these contractual changes are beneficial, or even if they are changes.


However, I assume they are negative contractual changes, and thus, in true Blue Peter style, here is one I prepared earlier, yet it is still rlevant to your post:


You have to remember that an employment contract consists of many things e.g. offer letter, SMT, handbook and of course custom and practice.


An employer should not change this unilaterally.


The only defence the employer would have (in the absence of a collective agreement or express term), would be a compelling business reason for the change.


Thus if they did enforce the change relevant points would be:


a) The reason for the change

b) Has there been any consultation

c) How long you worked the old pattern

d) What exactly the contract says re working hours and whether these can be amended

e) Are there any collective agreements


Ultimately if you feel an employer is in serious breach of contract you will be faced with three options:



a) Working and saying nothing,

b) Working and but making it clear this was under protest e.g by raising a grievance

c) Resigning and going for a constructive dismissal claim; this being an option you should seek expert advice on before undertaking.



...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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I'm pretty sure that they are not allowed to change contracts that have new conditions which might be detremental to the current contract. In addition they must have a consultation period.I believe they can change your working hours if deemed to be reasonable and I can't see anything in your post to say this. My advice would be to join a Union as they are very good at this sort of thing. One thing I do know is that they cannot insist you are responsible for cover at annual leave. The law and working time directive is very clear and even applies to self employed people, you must have the statutory time off/away from work. Personally I'd join a union now, ask about the consultation time with the employer so you delay things and qualify for assistance from the Union. Most Unions will represent you from day one but if it goes to a head to head then you will need 3 months to qualify for their legal guys to step in. Believe me it's the chaepest and best form of employment insurance you could get. Alternatively you could get help from your house insurance if you have this facility.

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b)If we want annual leave we have to get cover first and if no one can cover for us we cant take AL



I can't see that this can be right.


You are entitled, by law, to 28 days paid holiday (pro rata) per year; how the employer covers that is his problem, not yours.


What that contract is trying to say is that if you cannot find anybody else willing to cover for you at any time, then you cannot take any holiday !!

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The unions given cater for a variety of trades and professions. Traditionaly, public sector is catered by UNISON. The TUC is a bit like the opposition to the CBI.


Look up your local branch of Unison, Unite, or the GMB and ask for assistance.

Alternatively, tell the employer you are unhappy with the situation and will call in Union assistance if need be. Most emloyers will back down and rethink the situation then.


It has to be remembered that Unions are there to support the workers and will work with management.


Most sensible employers back down and start to speak sensibly when a union rep is involved.

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