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MorganaNK

Help needed with new contract - please point me in the right direction

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They are bringing in new contracts of employment and staff handbooks where I work. I am not happy with the contents (most of the staff have issues) and wrote to HR flagging up my concerns. These have been dismissed rather than addressed.

 

They say that we need to sign these contracts as employment law etc has changed, but I cannot do this in good conscience. My issues are quite "involved" but also shared by the majority of the staff.

 

Can anyone advise me as to where I can go to get these documents looked at? If I join a union is there a limit before they can help me? Are citizens advice any good? I am worried that I am going to get disciplined if I don't sign these documents soon and I need to know my legal standing and if they can "force" the changes on me.

 

Thank you


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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In 2014 my hours were cut from 40 to 25. I have a letter from the CEO laying out what was discussed and agreed (such as being allowed to get a second job to make up the money shortfall). This contract supersedes that, and says that I agree to going to training and meetings in my free time.

 

There is a clause on probation periods that has been reworded and could be interpreted that there is a new probation period with the new contract. They say it doesn't, but it is a sticking point for a large proportion of staff.

 

The notice period clause does not make sense and is confusing as to their expectations - two sentences appear to contradict each other.


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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Can you post the wording of the clauses?

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Old Contract: Probation Period

 

Your employment is subject to satisfactory completion of a 3 month probationary period during which your performance will be assessed. During your probationary period your employment may be terminated at any time on one week's prior notice.

 

New Contract: Probation Period

 

Your continued employment is subject to satisfactory completion of a three month probationary period during which your performance will be assessed. During your probationary period your employment may be terminated at any time on one week's prior notice.

 

Notice

 

After successful completion of your probationary period, the prior written notice required from the Company shall be the statutory notice periods; namely:

 

a) one week's notice if your period of continuous employment is less than two years;

b) one week's notice for each year of continuous employment if the period of your continuous employment is two years or more to a maximum of 12 weeks.

 

You are required to give the Company one month prior written notice.


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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Thanks. Both seem pretty standard to me.

 

I wouldn't worry about the probationary period clause. It's worded correctly and no employer would successfully rely on such a clause to reduce the notice period if your employment has lasted over three months (particularly as there isn't any provision for an extension).

 

I also wouldn't worry about the notice clause - the implication is clear. You have to give a months notice to leave at any time, but they only have to give you one week for each year of service. So if they wanted to dismiss you when you had three years service, they would have to give you three weeks notice - and you would have to give them one months notice if you wanted to leave.

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Thanks for your help; much appreciated. Doesn't help that the new manager read the notice period as what we have to give them and told someone exactly that when they resigned this week!

 

The only issue now remaining is my letter and the new contract/handbook. I would like it read by someone and advice given, hence the question about a union etc. I've been screwed over so many times (I am looking for the escape tunnel) but in the mean time I want to be sure I am not shooting myself in the foot to their advantage!


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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I wouldn't worry - if those are the only two contentious clauses then contractually at least, you're probably not at a disadvantage!

 

It would be unusual for an entire handbook to be reviewed as ultimately, they're usually non contractual so the reality is that you have no say in its content. I'd only be concerned if they were seeking to vary your contractual terms and conditions...

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They have reviewed the entire handbook. There were never any staff policies and procedures (although they should have been, the numbers were in the index!). They are now in the handbook and have been added to and we have to sign our agreement to them; there is also a letter with a whole host of "thou shalt not" which we don't have to sign but do have to agree to...


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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How long have you been employed by the company? Is the training a requirement of continued employment in your work sector such as for nursing/care/security? If so you will run into the same sort of terms in almost any employers terms of service as they know that you need to keep up or lose out. As for the probation, being employed for more than 2 years will knock that on the head even if they do mean it to apply to all staff- it just doesnt as the law is supreme on this point..

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I have been an administrator at a nursing home for six years. I can understand needing to do Health & Safety, Fire, Moving & Handling training but not any of the other so called mandatory training as I am in an office in the roof and the only time I go to the nursing floor is to pass over paperwork, collect the post, use the loo or go out! I say good morning, thank you and goodbye to the residents and that's my total interaction with them...


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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I speak based on my experience with similar cases about 3 different companies.

I would take legal advice, maybe free with your home insurance, and find the answer to the question: "What happens if I refuse to sign this new contract?"

In my experience the 3 companies concerned tried to get all employees on a new contract with less favourable conditions (including pay and hours worked)

It turned out that the original contract of employment is valid until you decide to sign a new one or they pay you off to leave the company.

Of course this won't apply if you have been employed for less than 2 years.

Some companies don't even worry about sacking long serving employees and have a compensation reserve for cases they lose at ET.

At the time, a solicitor specialised in employment law told us: "if you have a permanent contract and the company is not shutting down, relocating etc, why would you sign a new contract which will put you in a worse position? The company will need to terminate the original contract following its t&c and this can be very costly, so don't sign anything"

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Thanks; that's kind of how I am feeling. Will have to find someone to look the documents over as I don't appear to have anything on my home insurance


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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looks like the training bit is a blanket term and they havent given much thought to individual job roles. Under those circumstances I cant see much to fret about, they wont want to be paying to send you on courses that are a waste of money for them.

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Sadly we have an in-house trainer who is qualified to do all the mandatory training so I get no choice.

 

I did put my foot down over an NVQ equivalent as I am already studying for a qualification at home that I have paid for.

 

I have joined the GMB (it is the union most staff belong to) and they are trying to get the boss to allow them to come in. She's ignored them once already 😐


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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Get their safety officer to pay the members a visit. Boss will have a hell of a job stopping that and explaining why the the HSE. I cant see why employers dont see the benefits of a unionised workforce, easier to negotiate redundancy, free H&S courses for your managers to take advantage of when the "volunteers" have no choice etc. only need to speak to 1 person instead of having staff meetings you can promote a blame culture and load of other things.

Problem is bad employers are often too ignorant to see the advantages even when expressed like this.

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Just been informed that if we don't return our contracts signed by the 26th then we will be disciplined and if we refuse to sign them we are making ourselves unemployed!


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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Just been informed that if we don't return our contracts signed by the 26th then we will be disciplined and if we refuse to sign them we are making ourselves unemployed!

 

It's a bluff.

Write to them and ask to confirm in writing that if you don't sign the new contract you will be dismissed.

They'll ignore it and you will have ammunition when they try any funny business.

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You have a contract which they cant change unilaterally and they know it. I presume that this notification wasnt in writing or you could all get a nice payout.

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Guest topcat14

The "new" terms will be what most employers have already. If I went to an employer that did not have a policy on something that was fundamental to my job, then I would feel that the job was unsupported.

 

Terms and Conditions and Policies are a two way thing ie protection for employee and employer.

 

Looks to me like the HR department is pulling its socks up and doing its job.

 

To ask you to sign "or else" is a bluff ....they cannot change a fundamental part of an existing terms & conditions without your agreement. They can however change it if they can demonstrate a good business case for doing so, be that for legal reasons or to change a company policy as long as there is sufficient notice given.

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Letter was rewritten and reissued with disciplinary line removed after CFO found out it had been sent... old letters were not collected back... Oops

🤔


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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maybe that was just to soften you all up so not so accidental......

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Well, the union have gone very silent and the deadline for signing is tomorrow...

 

Still not signing


"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill

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