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pre written contracts not legally binding?

(12 Posts)
rosiejoy Thu 15-Oct-09 20:58:23

having probs at work, have handed in my notice, they are now saying i needed to give 4weeks notice not 1week. (i misread contract they are allowed to give me 1weeks, i have to give 4weeks sad )

a friend told me today that a contract is an agreement between 2 parties, therefore a prewritten conract is not legally binding (eg.just printed off and you sign at the bottom). she said she had found this out during a work dispute of her own.

im wondering if (and hoping!!!) this is true, does anyone know?
thanks in advance

MrsHappy Thu 15-Oct-09 21:00:40

This is not correct, I'm afraid.

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 21:22:27

A contract is an agreement between two parties, but if you sign a contract (or indeed even if you continue working as normal without protest once you have been issued it), then you are accepting the terms in it. It makes no difference when it was written, and no employer sits down with each new employee and drafts something completely new from scratch anyway.

rosiejoy Thu 15-Oct-09 21:35:23

thanks for replies, have looked through my contract agin
on the first page it says "you will be required to complete a 6-month probation period, during which your employment may be terminated with one weeks notice"

i naively assumed this applied to both parties. however on the back it says "the notice required to be given by you is not less than four weeks"

so im stuffed then??

they are saying they are going to withhold pay, eg. i wont get paid for the last 4weeks i work for them. can they do this? im under the impression that they shouldnt but they will, because to get the money i would have to take them to court and they would then counter-sue me for breach of contract?

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 21:44:37

I don't understand why they would withhold pay? If your contract says you are required to work 4 weeks notice they can insist you do so, and I am assuming you are not refusing to do so are you? Assuming you do work your notice then of course you must be paid for it.

rosiejoy Thu 15-Oct-09 21:46:24

sorry should have said, i have a new job starting so i am refusing!
oh its such a mess, feeling really stupid now blush

rosiejoy Thu 15-Oct-09 22:06:04

i start new job on monday 26th, next week will be the last week i can work at curent job, i am intending to work this week and next week, but they are saying i wont be paid at all for the last 4weeks i work. if they ARE able to do this surely they can only refuse to pay for 3weeks work, since i gave them 1 eeks notice and it should have been 4?

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 22:19:19

You must be paid for work you do, they can't withhold pay because you won't work longer.

You refusing to work your full notice is a breach of contract which they technically could pursue you for in a court, but it would not usually be worth their while doing so because they would have to demonstrate an actual financial loss.

If they don't pay you for work you do, you can claim non-payment of wages as it would probably be what's known as an unauthorised deduction, see here.

RibenaBerry Fri 16-Oct-09 10:48:37

You probably aren't bothered if you have another job, but also be aware that refusing to work your full notice could result in you getting a bad reference from this employer in future. Just be sure you'll never need to rely on them...

YorkshireRose Sun 18-Oct-09 11:44:32

Would the difference in notice requirements for emloyers and employees not be a breach of the Unfair Contract Terms Act, as the employer only has to give one week notice but the employee has to give four? That could render the whole contract unenforeceable, so the fallback would be the mimimum legal employee rights. I'm not up to date on this and would appreciate comments from those who specialise in this.

If i am right the employer cannot enforce the four weeks notice requirement and would have to accept one weeks notice.

nomoresleep Sun 18-Oct-09 12:40:36

Sorry YorkshireRose, lack of balance in notice periods doesn't constitute a breach of ucta.

what flowerybeanbag says is exactly right.

YorkshireRose Sun 18-Oct-09 22:30:34

Thats a shame. Not much help to the OP, but I guess this situation underlines the need to read employment contracts carefully and refuse to sign unless everything is absolutely right.

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