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Tupe - What defines a contract of employment?


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I and one other colleague were Tuped in February.

 

I am a part time cleaner and was with the company for 18 months before the transfer. When I first applied for the position it was described as 15 hours a week over 6 days 7.30am – 10.00am. However, I was contacted by the head of HR and was asked if I would consider more hours than advertised, to which I agreed and was subsequently offered the position and was told the exact hours would be discussed when I started.

 

After a meeting with the manager it was agreed that my times would be 7.30am – 10.30am Sunday – Friday (on-going) and a few other hours in the evenings as and when needed (temporarily – until they could find someone else to cover it) giving me a guaranteed 18 Hours a week. But my written contract stayed the same at 15 hours.

 

More recently, the new company has taken away my Sunday hours – without even consulting me about it. I came into work one morning and there were new people there doing my job. I spoke to my NEW manager about this and was told that I was no longer needed on Sundays as we were over staffed and that I am only contracted for 15 hours anyway.

 

So, I spoke to my OLD manager about this who said not to worry he would have a word with them. A few days passed and then my NEW manager finally came in to see me about it, telling me that he is sticking to his decision and I will not be working Sundays from now on, adding “unless it doesn’t work out with the new staff”.

 

My OLD manager has since told me he has done all he can do and cant dictate to them what hours they give me out of the contract.

 

Questions

 

Is the verbal agreement I had with my original employer legally binding? I heard somewhere that agreements on times and rates etc. whether written or spoken were classed as a contract of employment.

And if so, would this still stand after being Tuped?

And if so again, could I claim for some sort of loss of earnings for all the Sundays I'm currently missing?

 

Might not seem a big deal to many people, but its my only income and I really cant afford it.

 

On a slightly different note. My terms and conditions state I am not entitled to overtime rate for weekend work but those who are on the agency's terms and conditions are. Is this right?

Thank you in advance for any help you have.

Edited by iamjaspa
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The question here is whether you can PROVE that you were required for 18 hours a week. A verbal contract is every bit as binding as a verbal one, but the difficulty is in proving that such an agreement existed. For that reason it is always wise to try and get something in writing, even if it is only an email sent 'To confirm our conversation, I understand that despite my written contract stating 15 hours a week, you actually require me to work on every Sunday in addition to provide me with 18 hours a week on an ongoing basis'. A receipt for delivery of this, or a simple 'Yes - that is the arrangement' will then turn a flimsy verbal agreement into a written one.

 

That is the hindsight dealt with, so now to the reality! You have a battle on your hands, as you will now have to try and create a case where either by implication or Custom and Practice, you can try to push the point that this was not casual overtime, but a requirement of the previous employer that this agreement existed. You can try a written complaint that as witnessed by your wageslips, holiday pay etc over a substantial period of time that this was a formal arrangement, but inevitably the employer may simply say (as they would reasonably be entitled to) that they can only go by the formal contracts handed over by the previous employer.

 

Ultimately this may be a matter only a Tribunal can decide, but for teh time being you can only try to push a grievance on the basis of evidence supplied (wageslips and any notes you may have of conversations with the previous owner).

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Thank you for your help. Well thats good, I think I could get my previous manager to give me a signed statement to say the agreement took place with all necessary details. Would this be evidence enough? Also would like to know if being tuped would be a threat to a verbal contract? Especially being as my only solid evidence would be a statement of events. Could that be seen as fabricated after the transfer? Thanks again.

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You could also write a statement yourself explaining how, and when, the change from 15 to 18 hours came about and suggesting that the failure to change the number of hours on the written contract was simply an oversight by HR.

Is holiday pay shown seperately on your wageslips?

If it is, and it shows that you were always paid for 18 hours when you had a week off, this would be a stong indication that your contracted hours are 18 regardless of what is written on the document.

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