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to not be very happy with this work contract/situation?

(23 Posts)
Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 00:25:49

I recently started a new job (end of Feb).

My boss (owner of the business) gave me my contract the other day to read through and sign etc. Just read through it and I'm not very happy about it but I have no idea if there's anything I can actually do about it without upsetting my boss and still being able to keep my job!

At the moment I have a food hygiene certificate thing which has expired. My boss wants me to renew it online. Fair enough. However, she wants me to pay for it. Aibu to think that if she wants me to renew it she should pay for it? Or is that not how it works? I honestly don't know as not been in this situation before!

Also, even though the job was not advertised or presented to me as a zero hours contract that is, effectively, what the job is as the contract states that I have no minimum hours of work and that hours will be given to me as and when they are available. So far this has not been a problem as the business has been busy and I am consistantly doing 3-4 days a week (fitting around my studies) but I couldn't afford to live on much less than that so I'm concerned that by signing this contract I'll be effectively giving them permission to cut my hours as and when they see fit.

Is there anything I can do about it? Or do I just have to put up with it? So far they have been good people to work for and the hours are really good and I think I'd find it really difficult to find something else as good in the same industry if I left confused

21stCenturyBreakdown Thu 07-Apr-16 06:38:41

At the moment I have a food hygiene certificate thing which has expired. My boss wants me to renew it online. Fair enough. However, she wants me to pay for it. Aibu to think that if she wants me to renew it she should pay for it? Or is that not how it works?
Was the certificate relevant to you being given the job at all? I.e. was it asked for in the job description, did you make reference to it on your CV / in an interview and would it have been a factor in them choosing / not choosing to hire you? If it's a basic requirement for the job and they were led to believe you had it, they aren't being unreasonable to expect you to renew it yourself - but other than that I'd say they're unreasonable to want it but expect you to pay for it.

I'm concerned that by signing this contract I'll be effectively giving them permission to cut my hours as and when they see fit.

But without a contract, you'll be in this position if you don't sign it too. YANBU to challenge the contract and see what they say, but YWBU to start the job without viewing and signing the contract first - that would have been your best chance to negotiate its terms.

Collaborate Thu 07-Apr-16 06:58:45

I disagree. If the certificate helps you perform your duties then it benefits your employer. They should pay. You wouldn't be able to deduct it for tax purposes but your employer can.
Are you on minimum wage? If so, wouldn't making you pay take you below that?

magoria Thu 07-Apr-16 07:28:52

In my opinion sign it then immediately start looking for a new job and leave as soon as possible with as little notice as possible.

If they are going to be this devious about failing to mention it is a zero hour contract and penny pinch over a food hygiene certificate to start then I don't see them getting any better long term.

You owe them as much as they are showing you.

NapoleonsNose Thu 07-Apr-16 07:38:37

Agree with magoria. They sound like a potential nightmare. Zero hours contracts are awful if you rely on a regular income. DH had one in a previous job and it was very tough at times. Definitley look for something else.

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 07-Apr-16 07:43:50

I have to have an up to date hygiene cert as well. However I've never had to pay for it myself! I would find somewhere else asap.

Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 12:19:23

21st, I did make mention of the certificate on my CV but I don't think it was instrumental in them choosing to hire me. Afaik none of the other staff members, bar one and the owners themselves, have one. They do want us all to get one at some point though, which is fair enough but I thought it was like a DBS/CRB check thing in that if the employer wants you to have one then they normally pay for it. Its not a lot of money to get it done but its more the principle of it.

There was no contract available when I took the job as it is a new company that had recently opened, so this is the first opportunity I have had to look at it. I was in quite desperate need of a job when it came up and it offered an immediate start so I wasn't really in a position to be choosy at the time.

I am concerned it doesn't bode well for the future but I'm not sure I have much choice, the hours are really good for me fitting in around my studies and there are not many jobs in my industry that are not seasonal/summer only jobs, or jobs that require you to work every evening and weekend which I don't really want. Obviously being a student I need a certain amount of flexibility in my working hours that a lot of places won't offer me.

I am on minimum wage smile

Collaborate Thu 07-Apr-16 12:47:49

Then they are breaking the law. Requiring you to pay for your own certificate puts you below minimum wage.

Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 16:45:26

What can I do? Can I refuse to pay for it? Can they fire me if I do?

Fwaffy Thu 07-Apr-16 16:52:07

I would arrange to meet with the boss to discuss the contract and just put your concerns to them. It's a negotiable document. If they're willing to compromise a bit (I.e. Commit to a certain minimum of hours, pay for the cert etc) then great. If there's no movement then consider whether you want to sign and stay, sign and look for other work while there, or walk away.

RealityCheque Thu 07-Apr-16 16:59:57

Collaborate, that is completely wrong.

Paying for it does not put her below minimum wage. Her wage is her wage and has fuck all to do with the certificate. Should people go to work naked because buying clothing for work would put them below the minimum wage?

That said, they are being shitty and I wouldn't pay.

Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 17:07:07

She has said that it is a legal requirement that I have this certificate in order to work with food but I'm pretty sure that's not quite right! I've worked in loads of food/beverage places where no one has had these certificates - obviously they are desirable but I don't think its legally required :/

She didn't say it in so many words but I think the implication was that if I don't pay it I can't continue to work these because it would be 'illegal'

RealityCheque Thu 07-Apr-16 17:12:24

But she has ALREADY employed you (and others) without one. So it's either bullshit or SHE has knowingly broken the law.

Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 17:26:34

That's a good point!

Collaborate Thu 07-Apr-16 17:30:58

If it is a requirement of her contract that she has a certificate that costs money, and it is referable only to her work (correct me if I'm wrong RealityCheque but clothes can also be worn outside work) then I believe that OP will be paid less than minimum wage.

OP - check this with the Low Pay Commission.

GeezAJammyPeece Thu 07-Apr-16 18:04:18

She has said that it is a legal requirement that I have this certificate in order to work with food but I'm pretty sure that's not quite right!

Food hygiene rules & the certification requirements vary depending on area, type of establishment, and your actual position; however I doubt the truth in her statement which seems to be implying anyone & working with food has to hold one.

Knowing what kind of establishment you are talking about and what your position is would help gauge how relevant you're holding a current one would be.

(I work in catering, for a large company which through a number of arms supplies food to thousands of people, it is standard practice for anyone starting a new job in the company that their PVG (broadly equivalent to CRB) comes through before they get to start work. This is paid for by the employer.
Everyone directly involved in catering (through this company) receives training & sits an exam which leads to REHIS certification. I assume this would be the equivalent to the expired one you mention. This is carried out usually within the first year of employment, and again is paid for by the employer.

If your employer wishes you to have this certification, the onus is usually on them to provide or fund the training. They should also pay for any examination &/or certification fee. Any time you spend at training for this should either be during your work hours and paid as normal OR paid as overtime if it out with your normal or rotated hours.

Before confronting them with your concerns with regards this part of your contract, I'd suggest clarifying the regulations as they are relevant to your area (both geographically & area of employment) Your local Environmental Health website should be able to point you in the right direction. Once you find out what the legal requirements are, you are in a better position to request amendments prior to signing.

As for your zero hours contract which should be fucking illegal by now, why the hell aren't they?!, if it was never mentioned that this was how you were to be contracted; I imagine you have a pretty good case to request a minimum hours contract. They won't necessarily agree; but again, if you can find out the legality of them giving you this type of contract after not advertising it as such (I think you said this?!) you may have some leverage.

I'm sorry I'm not able to give any specific yes or no answers, but as I said, the regulations DO vary so I'd need more info.

I do hope you get it sorted out satisfactorily!

And as others have mentioned, if they aren't going to play ball; sign the contract only if it doesn't mean there are any penalties for you and start looking for something else.
Don't pay for the certification. If they deem it necessary, it is up to them to pay for it.
The only time you should be asked to pay for training etc is if there is a clause in your contract stating that if you leave within a certain period of time you are liable to repay for any training costs that have been incurred.
(E.g. HGV licence training costs £thousands, you would probably have a clause dissauding you from immediately move to a rival firm as soon as your employer put you through it)

GeezAJammyPeece Thu 07-Apr-16 18:13:20

I doubt the truth in her statement which seems to be implying anyone & working with food has to hold one.

Well that came out garbled! I'm blaming a concoction of autocorrect and phone battery dying halfway...

I shall translate:

"I think she's talking shit!"
It is NOT a legal requirement for everyone working with food to hold certification.
In any premises involved in food production, someone must hold it, but not everyone.

Tantrictantrum Thu 07-Apr-16 19:01:23

Collaborate is right

From low pay commission:

What’s not included in minimum wage calculations
Some payments made by workers must not be included when the minimum wage is calculated.

These are:

payments that shouldn’t be included for the employer’s own use or benefit, eg if the employer has paid for travel to work
things the worker bought for the job and isn’t refunded for, eg tools, uniform, safety equipment

Witchend Thu 07-Apr-16 19:07:07

I think it might depend on what you wrote on the application.
If you wrote "I have a current fhc" then you are implying you have one and it is reasonable for them to say if you don't then the information on the CV/application is wrong.

If on the application you wrote "I have had a fhc (March 2010-March 2016) then, no, you shouldn't be expected to pay.

That would just be the way I'd look at it.

GeezAJammyPeece Thu 07-Apr-16 20:53:30

I didn't think of that, Witchend is right, how did you refer to your certificate in your application? Did you mention it had expired/give dates? Because if you said "I hold a (current) food hygiene certificate" they would assume it was current whether you stated it or not. To then say, actually, it has expired would be a bit off.

My original thoughts that if they want all staff to hold it eventually , they should be paying for them still hold though.

noeuf Thu 07-Apr-16 21:11:52

I don't understand the bit about what's not included.

If the employer pays travel then that's not counted as part of the wage?

What does the next bit mean?

Timeforanamechangy Thu 07-Apr-16 22:45:49

I think on the cv I had referred to it as 'I had' because I wasn't aware it had expired (only expired recently) but I did make them aware, when asked, that it had expired iyswim smile

BeckyMcDonald Thu 07-Apr-16 22:59:07

A contract isn't something that an employer imposes on an employee, it's an agreement between both parties. If you don't agree to a clause in the contract, tell them,

If you need to be flexible, then a zero hours contract might actually benefit you because technically you can pick the hours you want to work and have the right to refuse hours.

Unfortunately, this is not usually how it works and most employers of people on zero hours think they can offer no hours if they're quiet, but get inexplicably pissed off if their employees start trying to enforce their side of the contract by refusing to work at certain times.

They don't sound like good employers tbh. I'd stay there until you find something else but I wouldn't look on it as a reliable source of income.

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