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Notice periods

(33 Posts)
physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 00:03:19

Hi all! I've just tried to resign from my (teaching) job to start at a new school in Jan. I was never issued a contract by my employer, but a job description for a role that is not mine three years after I started. My current job have come back and said I now need to serve six months notice, despite people in similar teaching roles having less notice. How can I convince them to let me go???

Balletgirlmum Thu 20-Oct-16 00:14:42

What kind of school are you employed in, state, private, academy?

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 07:32:52

Independent. They still have to give me a contract though, right??

HillaryFTW Thu 20-Oct-16 07:35:31

Did the job description include a notice period?

Secretspillernamechange Thu 20-Oct-16 07:37:55

Does the JD they gave you have a notice period in it? I'd have thought that in the absence of a contract you'd just need to do statutory notice (so 1 week, increasing by 1 week a year for every year after you've been there 2 years). I'm not a lawyer but I can't see how they can enforce a contractual notice period with no contract. I'd call ACAS.

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 07:38:12

I'm an employment lawyer. You do have an employment contract. What you might not have is a written statement of employment particulars. Every employee has the right to a written statement under s1 of the Employment Rights Act and so you should have been given this and it should have included your notice period.

I suspect the notice period was in your offer letter.

engineersthumb Thu 20-Oct-16 08:04:33

Whilst it's always best to remain on good terms there are only two ways that leaving could impact you. Firstly loss of holiday pay, secondly loss of good reference. No company will ever persue an employee for breaching notice periods, even if they win they would loose too much in terms of reputation and good will.
Whether you are bound by a contract at all is debatable. Im not s lawyer but seem to remember thar acceptance of payment maybe considered acceptance of contract. Whilst poor practice i guess this is the argument that they would use. At the risk of making the situation worse you could spesk quite plainly and state that you are leaving on dste x and are going to persue them over poor employment or contract practices if there is any loss of reference or leave benefits. It may all seem too much bother particularly if there are any potential breaches of employment law that they are concerned about. Unfortunately you may be dealing with that brand of person who has been to school to university and back to school and really think they are the headmaster of all they survey and they have some right to dream up there own rules!
Talk first and argue last... hopefully gentle coercion will win out.

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 08:17:28

As per atticusclaw above, the crux of the matter is....were you were issued with anything that detailed your notice period? check offer letters, handbooks, polices. If not then only statutory notice would apply (which is 1 week) regardless of which profession you work in. However your best course of action is to agree to work until the end of this term. They would be hard pressed to do anything about it. However do check for any clauses that state they have the right to pass on any additional costs to you for not working your notice (however this can only be enforced if the notice is 6 months). Offer letters do not usually cover notice periods but check it in detail and feel free to PM me (HR Consultant),

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 09:36:58

I have my offer letter. I have a Job description however, the job description I was issued (after I asked for it after having worked there for 3 years) does not fit my job role or job title (I was given the Head of department's job description - I have no idea why!!). In that part of the job description, it says 6 months' notice, but I figured this was wrong because no ohter teacher is under the impression they have a 6 months' notice period and many (including the previous head) has left with far less notice!!! I figured because the job description was not for my role, the notice period was not for my role... was I being naive or was it just wishful thinking???

By the way, than you all for your help!!!

And yes, I am aware that really what I was not issued was any sort of job particulars, handbook, complaints procedure, rights ... etc... instead of an actual contract!

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 14:33:27

Ah, well then you have a six month notice period.

You can potentially negotiate this down however in your scenario where the school will have no choice but to cover your role I would expect them to withhold salary and notice monies if you leave without working your full notice (unless they have agreed to this). If you bring a claim against them they will then counter claim for the cost of the locum to cover your role.

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 14:55:03

If it's not the JD for your role then they'd be hard pressed getting the notice to stick. However did you sign anything to confirm receipt of the JD? What notice have others in the same job role as you worked to?

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 14:58:22

That isn't correct. You could just as easily argue that the description of the role was the mistake as argue that the notice period was the mistake, particularly since the OP saw and said nothing.

What others have in their contract is irrelevant really. OP could be highly valued or could be in a role which is difficult to recruit to. Teachers often have different notice arrangements to the rest of the world since its important to have cover.

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 15:34:20

Oh no! I did say that they had given me the wrong JD, several times, as recently as my appraisal in June!! It was emailed to me after I requested it, so they know I have it. I have never 'signed on the dotted line

Others have had between 3 weeks and a term. No one has ever given more than a term in my time at the school... The previous head only gave a month!

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 15:43:18

I suggest you put this in writing so you have a record and dispute the notice. Again happy to help so please feel free to PM me!

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:48:55

The fact that you've never signed the contract is not relevant if you've continued to work under it.

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 15:52:44

Without being notified of the conditions...? That somehow doesn't seem right atticus.

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 15:54:45

JD that isn't applicable to you cannot be used in this situation. It's. JD Not a legally binding contract. Especially more so as you have raised that this JD is not appocable to your role. What is the notice of someone in the exact same role as you at your place of work? Teacher are usually a term or some contracts state that if they resign mid term they have to work that term plus the next one, one school I worked with had two months of resignation is in the autumn and spring terms and three months if resignation is in the summer term but it varies from school to school.

Your best course of action is to explain that your notice period for the position you are in has never been stated as they have failed to issue you with a contract (despite asking many times etc). Due to this your notice based on custom and practice of others in the same role is XXX.

Also add in that the JD you were given is clearly incorrect as it relates to XX role.

Just be mindful that where it may look like others have worked less notice they may have been put on Garden leave.

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 15:55:55

Ps. Apologies for terrible typos, using iPhone!

HillaryFTW Thu 20-Oct-16 15:57:32

A Head of Department having 6 months notice is more reasonable though

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:58:00

You have been notified of the conditions, just in various different documents such as the offer letter and the job description (albeit I take the point that you dispute the accuracy of the job description). All of these documents plus any contractual commitments given verbally constitute your "contract of employment"

TBH you really just need to pick up the phone and ask. It would be far simpler than us trying to guess without seeing the documentation and they'll confirm your notice period with you and tell you whether they'll agree to accept short notice. No lawyer (or HR consultant etc) can give you any firm view on the construction of a contractual document without seeing it.

SarahMOs Thu 20-Oct-16 15:58:12

True atticusclaw but only statutory notice would apply in that case if no written terms. For schools that may slightly different so definitely check your Burgandy Book (if you are in a teaching role and this applies to your school).

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 15:59:07

Sorry Sarah that is incorrect. A JD can and may well form part of the contract. It's clearly more than a JD anyway since it contains the provisions regarding notice.

atticusclaw2 Thu 20-Oct-16 16:00:51

She has written terms. She has a document which says six months notice.

If they are incorrect and the school agrees then they will tell her what her correct notice period is.

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 17:07:04

Trying to find out from other teachers but no one I've been able to get ahold of seems to know! And we are all on holiday... So all I have been able to get is what notice periods people have given who used to work here (3 weeks, one term, four weeks).

physicskate Thu 20-Oct-16 17:09:18

Oh and I have been trying to get ahold of my head (and her assistant) to arrange a meeting but they have not responded to my repeated emails and then dodged my calls! Arg!!!!!

Anyways, thank you all for trying to help - I reckon it is what it is. I am leaving at the end of term, I just hope they come to terms with that. It's sort of a symptom of most of the things that are troubling me about my current school!

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