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Potentially breaking employment contract before starting new job

(8 Posts)
Iggity Mon 17-Nov-14 22:05:03

I am in a bit of a predicament.

I want to leave my current job where I have worked for nearly 20 years. A couple of months ago, I applied for a new job which has been offered to me. I haven't returned the contract to the new company yet but need to do so imminently.

In the last couple of weeks it has transpired that my current company is set to make some major changes which will involve redundancies. The actual impact won't be announced until beginning of December so until then, I won't know if I am affected and even once the announcement happens, I probably won't know immediately as it is a large company and they wil go through the consultation period etc as they do everything in line with the law and a bit more.

The redundancy terms are good and if I did get the redundancy payout, it would be equivalent to around a year's salary and would benefit from my share schemes being treated more favourably compared to voluntary resignation.

I don't know what to do. I am keen to take the new job as I will need a job however I don't want to walk out on a massive payout just before it's announced.

Would appreciate any advice. My company has a no voluntary redundancy policy if asked although these do happen now and again.

If I sign the contract with the new company, how easy is it to get out of it if I haven't started the job? I don't want to mess people around but I have given an awful lot to my current company and would like to get the payout. I know this looks like I want to have my cake and eat it which it probably is but I am well and truly stuck and stressed about this.

I have already delayed signing the contract and don't think I can delay much longer.

Jcee Mon 17-Nov-14 22:18:36

I think you are tying yourself up in knots about things that are out of your control.

You don't know that you will be affected by the redundancies or, if you were, how long it could take to be finalised or if you could take voluntary redundancy and what that would equate to.

Presumably you do want to leave your current job and you want to take up the job offer you have and whilst a big payment on top of a new job would be nice, I think I'd be tempted to move on rather than jeopardise the new job offer with what ifs.

antimatter Tue 18-Nov-14 06:53:11

Don't assume that you can find new job very quickly. Unless when you were applying now you had lots of offers of interviews and few job offers what would confirm that you are in great demand and have lots of skills.

Also redundancies in big companies take months. ANd is miserable time too ( I know, I was made redundant twice).

If I were you I would move on.
By the time you might be getting redundancy money you are going to be settled in your new job.

jalopyjane Tue 18-Nov-14 07:05:08

The redundancy process could take a long time. What exactly is going to happen in December? Is that when they will announce how many jobs arw being cut? After that there may well be a long consultation process, then you could be asked to reapply for jobs, etc. Sometimes the redundancies take place in waves. Are you willing to wait, potentially kissing goodbye to your new job offer and watching someone else get made redundant in your place who really needs that job?

There's no right answer here and yes a year's salary tax free is veru appealing! How much do you want the new job is the question I suppose. Getting out of it after signing the contract is unlikely to be a problem unless it's very high profile.

pluCaChange Tue 18-Nov-14 18:19:47

It's better to risk losing the redundancy payout (and it is quite high-risk: you don't know when it might happen, who might receive a notice, etc.) than risk losing this job.

Just remember, if and when the redundancies are announced at your company, the market for jobs in your area may well be saturated!

MuscatBouschet Tue 18-Nov-14 18:32:30

Can you sign the contract and delay giving notice? If so, go ahead and sign and the day the redundancy programme is announced go to your manager and say you'd happily be made redundant without consultation period but it'd have to be on 31/12/2014 because you want to take time out to travel/see kids/whatever lie you can think of. He may happily take the offer to avoid compulsory redundancies elsewhere in team.

I've been made redundant without going through consultation or notice and so has my husband at a different company. In both cases we walked into new jobs the day after leaving!

Iggity Tue 18-Nov-14 23:12:27

Thanks for all your comments. They are very useful and good to hear other perspectives.

Jalopyjane, I'm not sure exactly what is going to be announced in December. I think it will be the high level plan i.e. we are going to cut this particular section of the business and close x, y and z rather than the finer details.

As I mentioned in my OP, the company complies with the law and beyond and I think their consultation periods tend to be around 3 months but the company wants to make big savings so this is likely to be quick and not dragged out over a long period. The specific product I work on is likely to get the chop anyway and even if I didn't have a new job to go to, I would be gladly holdng up my hand to ask to go so I don't think I will be preventing someone else from keeping their job.

Antimatter, the area I work in is quite specialised though generally there are quite a lot of jobs going. The company I am with is the only place I have ever worked so moving is a big step for me. I only applied for this one job as recruitment guy caught me on a bad day so just decided to go for it.

Muscat, I have decided to sign the contract and will delay giving notice until I hear exactly what is going to happen to my department. I've told the new company that I would start late February. I have a 3 month notice period which is rapidly approaching but I am just going to hang on until first week of December and see what's what. I'll then have a conversation with my manager.

pluCaChange Wed 19-Nov-14 08:37:42

Okay, but be careful. Really, don't throw it away.

Also, you may find that your payout is reduced if they find out you have a job to go to. When I was facing redundancy in a previous job, I was warned by a colleague to keep my mouth shut about job-hunting, and I seem to remember that the agreement I eventually signed included a statement that I didn't have another job.

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