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When a 1yr fixed term contract is not a 1yr fixed term contract...

(12 Posts)
SpinCycle Wed 23-Oct-13 21:45:03

... on my actual contract - what implications does this have?

I started work 1 July 2013 in a very small p/t role (Local Authority job). After some weeks they finally sent out my contract, and among other errors, the contract apparently ends 29 June 2014. The other errors have been corrected, but the contract length has remained the same.

Throughout the advertising, interview and job offer process the post has been referred to as 'one year fixed term contract'. I assumed that a year would cover 365 days, and am slightly nervous that this truncated contract may mean they can exploit employment law loop holes.

I have queried it with my manager, who raised it with her line manager - but the response is 'I don't know what she means', and the business has been quietly dropped. (I still haven't signed and returned the contract) I don't want to be pushy if it doesn't make any material difference to me - but the LA are effectively selling the service I work in to a private company in the coming year. Come March next year I will be (hopefully, details have yet to be agreed) working for another employer. With such big changes on the horizon I really want to know where I stand - does anyone have any experience/knowledge in this field?


chanie44 Wed 23-Oct-13 23:22:10

It's right.

Eg if a role started on 1st jan, it would end on 31st dec.

chanie44 Wed 23-Oct-13 23:23:28

That would make 365 days. If it went 1st jan to 1st jan, that's 366 days.

SpinCycle Wed 23-Oct-13 23:53:21

would that not mean that mine should be 30 June?

I make 1 July to 29 June 364 days...

TerrorMeSue Wed 23-Oct-13 23:54:39

You haven't got many rights until you've been there 2 years anyway, as the coalition changed the rules.

SpinCycle Thu 24-Oct-13 00:02:53

you are quite right - 2 years is the magic number.

I just wonder - on this contract I could work 2 years, but be short by two days and NEVER get as far as having any rights sad

(And I really like my job, for what it is worth grin )

gallicgirl Thu 24-Oct-13 00:07:12

There are rights accrued at 1 year but I don't know what.
This isn't a mistake and HR know what they're doing.

I also work in local government and we've just issued a contract for 11 months just so we're not obliged to comply with employment legislation.

SpinCycle Thu 24-Oct-13 00:09:01

that is really interesting, gallicgirl.

Perhaps I should be a bit more pushy before signing.

gallicgirl Thu 24-Oct-13 00:17:25

Try talking to unison or gmb. Sorry I don't know more.

flowery Thu 24-Oct-13 09:57:55

There are no employment law rights accrued at one year.

There might be rights accrued internally, to certain benefits etc, that might be the issue.

If you've been issued a 364 day contract, and don't sign it but continue working as normal, the fact that you haven't technically signed it will make no difference to anything, you will have been deemed to have accepted the terms.

If you don't accept the terms what do you intend to do?

Littleredsquirrel Thu 24-Oct-13 10:03:09

Flowery is right as always and gallicgirl is wrong. There are no employment rights gained at one year.

You have rights accrued from day one relating to discriminatory acts but the unfair dismissal protection kicks in after two years.

So the one year length of your contract is a non point and I would say not worth causing a fuss at work over. if you get militant about your "rights" it is far less likely you will be given an extension to your contract.

And you will be deemed to have accepted the contract by now even if you haven't signed it unless you've only just been given it. If they let you out of the contract you will be without a job.

SpinCycle Thu 24-Oct-13 21:04:05

Thank you for all your replies.

I found an interesting 'calendar of employee rights' which lays out just what and when you are entitled to as an employee in the UK. It does seem that 1yr = diddly squat.

flowery I take your point about the actual signing of the contract not being of critical importance, and the fact that I am working being a tacit acceptance of it. I do still want to be happy about what I am signing, though - once I sign it and send it off to HR there is less scope for any alteration. They have already redrafted it once, as it had one line that read 'required to be flexible and work overtime',follow closely by another that stated overtime 'would not be paid' confused. Because of the staffing structure it would be impossible for the service to function without a paid overtime arrangement.

Littleredsquirrel I have no plans to be militant! I just wanted to clarify my position, and make sure I understood my terms of employment. I don't think it will make too much difference how I deal with the LA HR Dept, though. The service I work in is intended to be signed over to a private company next March, so there is little likelihood of the same people renewing the contract. Part of the reason I am a bit panicky about the contract details is because it could affect if and how the transfer to the new company goes (if my post is included in the deal, even).

I wasn't planning to refuse to accept the terms- just to query them and work out what they meant. It really is only a very small p/t role, but I do enjoy it. The money is extremely welcome at the moment, too. When I was taken on it was with two others in the same role (varying hours). We have all had the same contract, and I am not alone in questioning it.

Anyhow, thank you all again - lots of food for thought. It is very useful to have a sounding board that is totally separate from RL. I think my main conclusion is that UK employment law is not very favourable to employees, particularly given the current lack of a job market.

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