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Now I've told them I'm pregnant...(13 Posts)
Sorry if this is long.
I started a new job at the end of April, initially agreed to 4hrs per day until my sons schooling issues were sorted, and then it would rise to 5hrs per day (9-2), which happened at the beginning of June, and my hours rose accordingly.
I found out I was pregnant at the end of May, and due to having several early losses, I only informed them a week ago (have no idea if this is relevant). I have had no work contract, nor any mention of one, however as soon as I informed my employers of my pregnancy, they said they're going to get an employment contract drawn up for only 3hrs per day. I have two problems with this.
1. I need a minimum of 16hrs per week for WTC, this is none negotiable.
2. I think they're trying to lower my hours before the 15th week before my baby is due so they have to pay less maternity pay.
My question is, can I refuse to sign this contract without risking my job? If not, what are my options, if any?
Remember that an employment contract is a two way negotiation. You would be better off being clear with them about your needs early and leaving them in no doubt that you want 16 hrs per week- before they draw up the contract than going down the avenue of waiting until it's a fait accompli then refusing to sign. Try to state your need early.
You shouldn't need to feel forced to signing something that doesn't meet your needs.
Hold them to account in terms of them being clear why they will only give you 3 hours a day, don't let them off the hook as they need to explain the change and not fob you off.
Also it doesn't make any difference that you didn't have a written contract before. The fact you are in post and working signifies a joint agreement between you and your employers which is effectively a contract. By changing that agreement be aware they are potentially making a unilateral change without your agreement. Whilst you don't yet have 2 years statutory rights you do still have a right to fair treatment which doesn't involve them reducing your hours to get out of paying you maternity pay. Once you talk this through clearly with them with the facts in front of you it could make them see they are on shakey ground.
When I asked about the change, and told them I needed 16hrs minimum they told me that 'other people have zero hour contracts' and that I either signed it or I could have my notice. I can't afford to lose this job
Bump. Anyone? Desperately need some advice.
Contact ACAS. Sounds like discrimination.
I can't contact acas til tomorrow, and they're expecting the contract signed tomorrow or I'm going to lose my job, that's why I'm asking on here.
Put it in writing that you are seeking advice. If they fire you after this then they may be liable.
Okay, thank you. I'm just so angry that I've allowed myself to be in this situation.
If you are on pay around minimum wage then they are trying to get your pay below the lower earnings limit of £116 per week, see this.
What is strange is that employers can reclaim almost all statutory maternity pay, see this. Can't help with the legal side although you should talk to an expert just it case it can be constructive dismissal.
When I asked about the change, and told them I needed 16hrs minimum they told me that 'other people have zero hour contracts' and that I either signed it or I could have my notice
If that is what they said, then seriously consider if you want to work for them and be treated like this.
Have you passed your probationary period and if so what your notice period? If they start threatening to sack you, make sure you exercise the few rights you have re notice and leave entitlement. That's worst case scenario.
As a minimum they need to give you a reasonable time to consider your options and not hold a gun to your head. Don't allow them to force you into signing, say you need a few days to consider your position, maybe book a follow on meeting later in the week, when you've decided what irks for you.
If I were you, I'd sign the contract but actively look for another job and don't stop until you escape from there. They won't get Employer of the Year award talking to you like that.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.