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Please help- need to write a letter asking org to honour notice period

(19 Posts)
needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 15:28:50

Hi, name changed for this. I would really appreciate some advice. Apologies, it's very long!

I work for a body which is attached to a university. Their main function is to provide data for government. The contract for this was up and went out to tender and the university didn't want to apply this time so the body I work for partnered with another organisation who are the bidders. They won, and part of that involves a TUPE transfer of permanent staff to the new organisation. I am on a short term FTC ending in March, so I wasn't sure if this applied to me and I asked both HR lead and CEO to check but no one came back to me.

The university sent letters of upcoming risk of redundancy in late Dec as they were required to do. They then via our CEO formally rescinded this notice to everyone including me in a letter as soon as the contract award had been announced in early January. The letter included the words "I hope this news is reassuring to you after a difficult time". There was very much a feeling then that we (the whole team including temp staff and FTCs) were all going to be included, I've actually recently been made full time, plans were being made for me post transition etc.

Then last week the CEO called me into his office and told me that he had checked with the university (I had asked my line manager to check this as I didn't trust them to give the right info) and the people on FTCs weren't included after all. He said he wanted to keep me but it would be down to new org (which I do understand) and "he hadn't got anywhere near that in discussions yet".so it probably wouldn't be possible hmm

I am mainly really pissed off at my boss the CEO and the university HR dept not sending the correct letters. My line manager thinks I have been treated very badly and to try to push university to honour the 3 months notice period that my salary grade is on.

I am not sure I want to do that or whether I have a leg to stand on and I don't know what tone to take or how to write the letter, which I guess is basically a grievance. But I don't want to be a doormat, or miss out on full 3 month notice period if there is a chance they will honour it. They are supposed to give me a redeployment number so I can enter internal redeployment scheme but so far nothing. I should have had this two months ago. I have missed out on redeployment opportunities. I didn't chase it because I didn't think I needed it any more. I've not been in the office this week but have read all my emails which is how they would send this. They really are shit.

What do people think, would you bother challenging it? I can't check my contract right now as it's not with me but obviously will be doing so on Monday, and am kicking myself I didn't do it last week after his announcement but I was upset as it was out of the blue, a couple of days earlier we'd been discussing my upcoming project work after the end of the current contract and I was very much made to feel that I would have a role in the new structure.

Are you usually required to give or receive your set period of notice on a FTC? I don't know what is normal.

Apologies again for the length, I hope someone can advise.

flowery Fri 17-Feb-17 16:50:21

Whether your role is fixed term or permanent bears no relevance to whether you TUPE across to a new employer. Either the role you are in is part of the function/entity which is transferring or it isn't.

It's not clear whether the transfer has actually taken place/when it takes place?

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 17:18:17

The transfer was due to take place on 1 April to winning bidder, but process has been delayed so now looks like 1 June.

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 17:21:29

Basically I applied for this permanent FTC while temping there, knew it was uncertain because of the tender process, but the talk was very much that if the organisation won the tender with the new bidding partner, all would be ok.

flowery Fri 17-Feb-17 18:00:27

How long have you been employed there OP? If you could clearly demonstrate that your FTC would normally be extended/renewed but instead you are being dismissed, and the reason for that is the TUPE, that would be unfair dismissal. However you'd need two years' service to claim that and I'm guessing you haven't?

In which case the question is whether they are required to give you three months' notice to terminate, and that should be clear in your contract. If your contract does require them to give you three months' notice you shouldn't "ask them to honour it" as if they are doing you a favour. You should insist.

They haven't actually dismissed you yet though, by the sounds of things? Do you have any reason to think they will try and breach your contractual entitlement to notice, other than their incompetence thus far?

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 18:23:22

Thanks flowery, really appreciate these replies. Yes I will check my contract. I've been in the role since August so not anywhere near 2 years, but I've also just taken on a new role (am waiting for HR to process the change) and gone full time since 30 Jan (I was 0.6 FTE).

They haven't given me formal notice yet apart from my chat with the CEO but as far as I know from him I won't be able to work there after April. He's fairly clueless but that's the impression HR have given him. I asked my line manager what was going on with redeployment reference number yesterday and she said that she thought I would soon get a letter from HR. Which may possibly give me the full three months' notice, but that isn't what our CEO has led me to expect. Maybe I should just wait until I get that, but they are very slow at doing anything.

I just wasn't sure if it was normal to be given written notice on a FTC at all or if they just expect it to end if not specifically extended. Have never had one that I wanted to extend so the only other time I have been in the position of a contract naturally ending I gave notice.

quietbatperson Fri 17-Feb-17 18:53:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flowery Fri 17-Feb-17 19:09:01

"You are entitled to TUPE over."

What are you basing that on? The OPs contract is due to end in March, and the TUPE will be happening in June.

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 19:12:39

Thanks quietbatperson. I thought maybe TUPE wouldn't cover me as I was on a short term FTC (ending March 31). But it's been really mixed messages. I haven't spoken directly to HR apart from in a risk of redundancy meeting I attended, just before the redundancy notice was rescinded when our new partner won the contract. Maybe I should.

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 19:20:12

It is a really confusing set up I know! Basically if the new partner org our org was bidding with had lost the tender, it's likely that would have been the end of our org completely and staff would have TUPEd to whoever else had won. Our org had to do recruitment last year, one of the roles being mine, and because they had the tender hanging over them they recruited new staff on contracts ending the same day the tender contract ended with the university, March 31. The new contract with winning bidder was due to start April 1 but it now looks like it will be delayed. It's all very uncertain as most staff in our project team are FTC or temp staff.

flowery Fri 17-Feb-17 19:35:29

"I thought maybe TUPE wouldn't cover me as I was on a short term FTC"

As I said, whether your contract is fixed term or permanent is completely irrelevant. If you are employed at the date of transfer and the role you are doing is part of the function transferring, you are covered.

As it sounds as though they do not intend to renew your contract, it seems unlikely you will still be employed at the time, so will not be covered. I have no idea why quietbatperson is pronouncing with such confidence that you are entitled to transfer.

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 19:43:12

Thanks, so I need to find out if contract states that they give 3 months notice. I'm pretty sure it does as it's standard for my pay grade.

But just wasn't sure if the notice was assumed within the short term FTC and they don't specifically need to write to you if your contract is not being extended, and it would just naturally end.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Fri 17-Feb-17 19:46:31

Could you ring ACAS for advice?

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 19:47:32

Yes, maybe will do that Monday.

flowery Fri 17-Feb-17 20:56:07

"But just wasn't sure if the notice was assumed within the short term FTC and they don't specifically need to write to you if your contract is not being extended, and it would just naturally end"

Again, it depends on the wording of your contract. It should be clear on whether separate notice will be given (and if so how much) or whether it is assumed unless notified otherwise that the contract will terminate on March 31.

OutToGetYou Fri 17-Feb-17 21:26:00

Flowery is right - if you are in a role that is part of the transferring entity at the point of transfer then you transfer, even if your contract ends the next day.

This is not discretionary on anyone's part, it just happens.

I don't understand why anyone is talking about redundancy, what is causing redundancies? A TUPE is not the same as a redundancy.

The notice will be dependent on what your contract says. 'Standard for the pay grade' is only relevant if the contract is silent on notice (unlikely!). It's pretty unusual for a FTC to be on 3m notice though unless it is very senior.

And, redundancy isn't really relevant for you (if that is an issue) because there is no payment under 2 years service and no way to bring an unfair dismissal claim if they don't consult, so it's not worth worrying about.

It does sound as if you would be better off looking for a new role though.

needsomehradvice Fri 17-Feb-17 21:37:07

I'm pretty sure the contract mentions the 3 months notice. Not so sure without checking if it specifies whether I or they have to give this notice at end of contract, I seem to remember it says something like your department head will let you know if there is an opportunity for your contract to be extended. It's not top level but the grade is relatively high, they are a big university and my pay grade is the start of the higher grades with a different pension scheme etc.

OutToGetYou Fri 17-Feb-17 23:17:00

It might be two-way. If it is in the contract then they have to give it and you can bring a claim for wrongful dismissal if they do not and you would win it and they would have to pay the notice. But, if the transfer happens while you still work, or crosses the time when you should still work there, there this claim would be to the new employer.

I don't think you could rely on anything there to say there would have been an extension.

OK, if you're in the USS then you'd be in the upper grades. But that in itself does not determine your notice, as you say, check the contract.

Do keep looking for redeployment opportunities.

(btw, does the new employer have to keep you in USS? I bet they don't, you won't want to lose that!)

quietbatperson Sat 18-Feb-17 10:20:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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