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Boss asking me to sign new contract - unreasonable?

(12 Posts)
Tropicalfruitssquash Tue 17-Jan-17 18:08:05

Hello, name changed and after some advice! My boss has requested I sign a new contract with an eight week notice period. I am reluctant as I don't think this is normal for someone of my level. Can I refuse to sign?

Basically I gave in my notice late last year for a higher paid job in a different industry (four week notice period). After much discussion I retracted this notice. My boss ensured she would review my pay, holidays and job role (no mention of title) if I did. This happened and I am happy with my current role, although my pay is still well below what I was offered elsewhere. I have been in my role with this employer for just over three and a half years and I now have no intention of leaving. We are a small company but steadily increasing in numbers.

My boss has now turned around and asked me to sign to a new contract with an eight week notice period as basically I am the only person currently employed by them who can do my current job and it would take longer to replace me and in the meantime put a larger workload on everyone else. Fair enough. However, my pay is only 23k and my title is very basic - think ''sales and marketing assistant'. Surely people with long notice periods are of much higher level? I don't want this to disadvantage me if I do decide to leave - I just can't see what's in it for me! Would it be worth trying to negotiate, or can I actually refuse to sign? Thanks!

Recentlylazy Tue 17-Jan-17 18:15:55

You can refuse to sign, but your employer has the right to give you notice (as they have) and if you turn up the day after the notice period expires you are deemed to have accepted the new contract. If not you are deemed to have resigned. Sorry.
Side note I have always had to give 3 months notice to change employment contracts.

CurlsLDN Tue 17-Jan-17 18:20:08

My job title actually was marketing assistant in a number of different roles, paying about the same, and my notice period was always 6-12 weeks, so that sounds reasonable to me.
It's clear that you understand their reasons for extending your notice period, so I'd just go with it if I were you, especially since they've already 'given' so it's not a one way street

Tropicalfruitssquash Tue 17-Jan-17 19:18:03

Thank you for your replies. It's good to hear that this sounds like a reseasonable request. To me it sounded barmy as I always assumed the majority of people who were not high earners were on a four week notice. I'd appreciate any other views on whether this is reasonable!

OliviaBenson Tue 17-Jan-17 22:04:57

I'd use it as a way to negotiate a better salary. They have said themselves that you would be difficult to replace....

rollonthesummer Tue 17-Jan-17 22:10:59

I'd ask what the benefits were to me!

CurlsLDN Wed 18-Jan-17 07:23:59

The boss has already reviewed ops 'pay, holiday and job role' and seemingly improved them all to a point that op is happy with. So rather than asking 'what's in it for me' I think this is the boss ensuring that the extra investment they've already agreed to is as secure as possible.
I would usually say what's in it for me (and did, when an employer asked to extend my own notice period) but in this case it seems the op already has the enhanced benefits

Tropicalfruitssquash Wed 18-Jan-17 07:40:44

The increased pay and holiday is what I negotiated to stay in the role, and so I do feel like this request should be treated separate. I just don't want to put myself at a disadvantage - would another job wait 8 weeks to hire me?! As a small company we do not get other benifits such as sick pay, and so I am just trying to understand if this request is fair, or there is something more I could ask for in return. Perhaps a compromise, such as signing for six weeks and maybe eight weeks at a later stage (such as when I have been there five years) or when my pay is higher?

lougle Wed 18-Jan-17 08:13:04

8 weeks notice isn't excessive for £23k and YABU to describe your salary as 'only' £23k - it's £11.76 per hour, which is £4.56 per hour higher than the National Living Wage for over 25 year-olds and £5.06 per hour higher than the National Minimum Wage for 21-24 year-olds.

myfavouritecolourispurple Wed 18-Jan-17 09:01:04

I think 8 weeks is too short - I like 3 months. Look at it from the opposite perspective - if they want to get rid of you, they will have to give you more notice to find a new job - or pay you for longer. I would not accept a job with a 4 week notice period unless I was out of work and as a beggar could not be a chooser - I have turned a job down before because that was something they would not budge on.

SleepFreeZone Wed 18-Jan-17 09:09:26

My DP has never worked a notice period in his life regardless of how long they make it. He tells them he'll be working X amount of notice on resignation and then leaves. No one has sued him yet so I tend to think these notice periods are only as good as the company that wants to enforce them.

flowery Wed 18-Jan-17 11:07:45

The time for your boss to increase your notice period was when your pay and holiday went up last year. Doing it now, you have no incentive to accept the change!

It is absolutely not the case that your boss can just give you notice of a change to your terms and conditions and if you 'turn up the day after the notice period has expired you are deemed to have accepted'. That's nonsense, it's not nearly as easy as that to force through a change to employees' terms and conditions!

I think 8 weeks is fairly high for an assistant-level job, and if you are not comfortable with it, write back thanking for the proposed new contract, noting that they would like to increase your notice period, and saying that you are not happy with the proposed change so will not be signing the new contract and will instead remain on your existing terms and conditions.

You could seek a compromise, yes. You could also note that it's fairly unlikely that they'd take any legal action against you if you don't work 8 weeks notice, although obviously if you walk out after 4 weeks your reference will be impacted.

if they do want to force it through they will need to consult, consider alternatives and ultimately may need to dismiss you and reengage you, risking a legal claim, and they'd need to be able to demonstrate that there are solid business reasons for the change to be necessary. In circumstances where your role is fairly junior and they didn't think it was important enough a couple of months ago to take the opportunity of a pay negotiation to put it through then, I think they'd struggle to demonstrate it's essential for the business and would probably not want to risk a legal claim and damage relations with you for the sake of it.

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