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HR people - help! - Notice period for Nanny we want to employ

(4 Posts)
Turniphead1 Mon 13-Oct-08 21:06:47

We have a agreed to employ a girl as a nanny from 17 November. She currently works at a nursery (where we used to send our children - that's how we know her). She gave notice last week, thinking she had complied with her obligation to give 4 week's notice.

Turns out - she was only given her employment contract in August this year(despite having worked there for a full year beforehand and asking for her contract). Her employer signed it but she did not. It has a notice period of "two calandar month's notice to expire at the end of the month".

The employer is saying she needs to stay until the end of December. She says if the nanny does not she will not give a reference.

Now - she (the employer) seems in the wrong because as far as I know she cannot withhold a reference (is this right?)

- also she is in the wrong because she should have issued the nanny with an employment contract within 8 weeks of her starting work - but what effect (if any) does this have?

- unsure whether the fact that the nanny didn't sign the contract has any relevance? Could she be deemed to be bound by it in any event? (there is an argument that because English is not her first language that she didn't understand the notice provisions?)

Any help gratefully appreciated - I need her to start on 17th because I will be 36 weeks pg with DC no.3 by then...

nannynick Mon 13-Oct-08 21:33:58

I'm not an HR person, but thought I'd help bump-up your query so the experts will with luck spot it and offer their words of wisdom.

Looking at what you have written, I feel the key point is to determine if the contract (written statement) is legally binding. I feel it is legally binding once the employee has accepted to work for the employer for pay. I don't think they have to sign it.
With luck an expert will come along and be able to either back this up, or tell you that I'm totally wrong.

Yes, I agree that the employer was wrong not to give the written statement within 2 calendar months of their employee starting work, but since August, the employee did have that written statement and didn't challenge the notice period at that time.

flowerybeanbag Mon 13-Oct-08 22:24:57

The ex employer isn't saying she will withhold a reference unless the nanny doesn't fulfil her contractual obligations.

The fact that she didn't have her written statement in time is wrong of the employer but doesn't affect this.

If the nanny didn't understand the contract she should have said so at the time. SHe may not have signed it but has continued to work for 2 months or so under that contract.

Your point about withholding a reference is important. In childcare it's crucial and would be preventing someone from earning a living if a fair reference is not provided. Withholding a reference completely for a childcare worker because she doesn't work their notice seems over harsh. But even if they did provide a reference, it's not going to be glowing anyway if she walks out on them.

Turniphead1 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:33:40

Thanks all. Am going to give the employer a call - as I know her (and hope that she will agree to vary the period).


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