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Huge concerns about new job my DH is about to start. Is this going to end badly?

(11 Posts)
alabasterangel Tue 03-Feb-15 14:15:18

DH was made redundant last summer from his long term job. He has done a bit of self employed work in the interim but needs to go back to perm employment (mortgage reasons).

After applying and being unsuccessful for many jobs, he finally had an offer from a small firm. It was a majority commission post with a very low basic but because of said financial situation at home he negotiated onto a higher permanent wage with no commission because they really wanted him. This took some doing (3 interviews!), and even though its a lot less than his previous permanent role (£15k less) he agreed to start. We are desperate to move house so he can't stay freelance much longer.

The offices for this job are 2 hours drive away. He discussed this at the second interview and they said he would be needed to work there for an initial period (2 months) then he could home work and just come to the office very occasionally. The cost of staying up there (or commuting) would have to be met by him but we figured it would be a 2 month sacrifice then that was that.

He got a letter of offer, detailing the salary, the holiday (very low, 20 days, with no scope to accrue more) but no other detail in the letter. He phoned and asked when he could see his contract but they said he won't get to see it or sign it until 'a couple of weeks' after his start date.

That's not normal, is it?

He then gently replied asking some questions, for example, company pension, exact hours of work, notice period and target figures, and how the home working technically works.

He's had a reply saying that notice period is 3 months (!!!!) and that there is no pension scheme, no laptop, no phone (they actually said that due to his 'increased' salary, he is expected to provide them himself) and they are 'unaware' of his home working arrangements and will have to review this at a later point as technically there is no IT provison to access systems remotely. They don't address the issue of business mileage, but he will be doing quite a bit (outside his commute I mean, he will be seeing clients) and he is now worried he won't get that back. If he is expected to fund his phone calls, business insurance for the car, buy a laptop and all the corporate software to use on it, all his mileage and overnight stay costs, he seriously would be better getting a job round the corner in a supermarket!

Given all this, much of which is financially detrimental, he is now really worrying about even starting work with them. All these arrangements seem really a bit ad hoc, especially not even seeing the full contract before starting.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck, right?

What should he do? Push them for more information? Reply? Insist on a contract before starting? We're a bit confused as to what to do.

WipsGlitter Tue 03-Feb-15 14:27:37

Can he speak directly to the person who agreed the home working? How big is the company? My company cannot facilitate home working, just access to emails, so it may not be possible.

I'd try to negotiate a shorter notice period and get started and then hope something else turns up.

alabasterangel Tue 03-Feb-15 14:37:54

the company is small, family run, 25 employees maybe? The person who interviewed him is on holiday until my DHs start date on Monday, so he will have to start before being able to iron that one out.

That's what he's thinking, start it and seem but that doesn't sit very comfortably with him. Financially we'd be better off with him trying to do a bit more self employed stuff and biding his time, but he's concerned he's applied for so much and this is the first thing to come up. If nothing else transpires then he could be stuck there. The self employed work is working for a friend and the wage is also pretty low, but when he leaves he's going to employ someone else part time, so he won't be able to resume that if this fails.

WipsGlitter Tue 03-Feb-15 14:52:41

It sounds a bit of a mess, the having to supply your own phone and laptop (and presumably pay for calls) would make me very uncomfortable. What sort of vibe did he get when he went for interview?

The cons:
Travel distance
Travel costs
No phone
No laptop
No facilities for homeworking
No pension
Poor holidays
They think he's overpaid (reading between the lines)
Poor internal communication
Long notice period
Poor IT

It's a job!

alabasterangel Tue 03-Feb-15 15:31:30

You've summed it up there exactly. I'm quite pragmatic and trusting, but I just get an accumulated 'hunch' about this that it isn't quite right.

They argued that his basic+OTE would be way higher than a fixed salary. He argued (in the interviews) that he wanted a lesser, fixed salary and could rethink 12 months down the line when we've moved and he's settled into the job. He argued it was his loss, not theirs, but he needed a permanent role with a fixed income. They agreed to this, but if what they are saying is correct they THEY are better off as he will be taking homes less than predicted.

Also, one of the points returned to him was that he would still be expected to hit a sales performance figure each month, but they don't say what happens if he doesn't hit that target (performance plan or out on your ear?)

If he could see the contract (and therefore there was a bit more transparency) then he could make a better assesment of whether this is viable. As it is, without seeing the contract and only understanding about the other points upon pushing (and I should note that he asked other questions relating to sick pay, what happens if he underperfoms, what will his actual targets be, etc. and they haven't answered those) then it concerns us both.

I can't fathom whether there is something deliberately underhand, or whether they are just flying by the seat of their pants and aren't very organised.

EBearhug Tue 03-Feb-15 22:56:34

I would probably continue looking for other work.

I have to give 3 months notice, but that's because I have been there forever; it was 4 weeks for the first few years.

Millerpup Wed 04-Feb-15 19:24:11

If in doubt get out ! thats my motto he would be a fool to except the role just because he needs a job. If they are unable to get a contract with the basic terms and conditions written down for him then he will be open to all sorts of suprises, and this could end up costing more than he could ever hope to earn.
More and more employers are requesting three months notice this is a pain and it could be seen as unreasonable unless you hold a key position within the business. All employers have to deduct pensions now from earnings

InfinitySeven Wed 04-Feb-15 19:31:20

I started a new job that sounds just like this... They promised homeworking after two months, once I'd got used to everything. Told me how we'd manage it, what tools we'd use, etc.

When it came to it, they kept pushing it back. They got funny about me leaving on time, too, despite me living hours away unlike other staff, and being available for work into the night.

Eventually they said that whole homeworking was technically possible, it wasn't a practice that they wanted to encourage. Their compromise was once a month.

I'd walk. I can see this company being the same, and I also think that they'll give him loads of hours and work because he's overpaid in their eyes, so they'll want all of his time to make up for that.

lizzywig Wed 04-Feb-15 19:39:04

I think my first question would be, what exactly is happening in three weeks which means my contract can be issued that is stopping it from being issued now? To some degree the contract is a reg flag. Yes it will lay out his terms and conditions but even with the contract he is pretty vulnerable (up until 2 years) if they are not a good employer.

What is your dh's feeling on the matter? In his shoes I think I would try to be assertive and ask to renegotiate the start date until after the interviewer is back so that he can be clear that he is being offered now is what was offered in the interview. Could it be that all will be well when the interviewer returns, perhaps because they didn't leave all of the relevant information?

I do think it all sounds strange (but I am not in your shoes). They are asking him to provide things that an employer would usually provide and being quite vague about some things. Fwiw I am on a three month notice period, I was immediately after my probation but it's the norm where I work.

Have you tried googling the companies policies? Most likely nothing will come up but you never know....

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Thu 05-Feb-15 12:34:51

The fact that they don't intend to issue his contract to him until after he starts (and three weeks later!) would be a dealbreaker for me right there. Plus there's all these important issues about the fact that he's expected to pay for his own equipment that they've only just raised with him now? Plus as has been noted above, all employers need to enrol their employees on a pension scheme by law.

You know that saying "when someone tells you who they are, believe them"? It applies to this bunch of chancers in spades. And even if they aren't keeping him in the dark deliberately but are just "massively disorganized", so what? The effects on your husband will still be the same. If their this crap when they're supposed to be wooing your husband into accepting the job offer, what will they be like once he's in that job?

alabasterangel Tue 10-Feb-15 14:07:35

Thank you all. Thought I'd pop back to say he's not gone and told them he won't be starting. Amazingly his freelance boss has offered him a permanent role for as long as he needs to get something more long term, so he's much happier. It says a lot that they didn't want to loose him. We both feel better because it just didn't sit comfortably. It was the right choice. Thanks for everyone's help smile

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