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Using mat leave to set up my own rival company

(5 Posts)
LucyLucyLucy1 Tue 27-Aug-19 10:38:08

I've just started my maternity leave for my second baby, and I informed my (very small) company I intend to take a year away. In reality I plan to set up my own company which would be in direct competition and likely to steal clients. I'm not setting out to poach clients, I'm aware that a lot of them are unhappy with my replacement and have voiced that if I were to go it alone they would join me.

I plan to quit on Jan 1st once I receive my bonus in my December pay packet. 😬

I have a contract which stipulates a non competition clause for 6 months after termination. My notice period is 3 months. As such, I plan to start trading on 1st September.
This contract came into play when a colleague went to a competitor, and before then my contract was just my hours and job location!!! I haven't signed the new contract, mainly because of what I'm planning, and also because I don't think it's agreeable to not work for a competitor for six months. I am happy to stick to the terms of the unsigned contract if I need to, and as a courtesy to my boss.

My questions are:

Does it matter that I haven't signed my contract? You could argue I've been agreeing to the terms by coming to work. There is a lot of info in there about bonuses at certain times of the year which have not met so not sure it's worth the paper it's written on anyway.

Competitor clause - again as I haven't signed the contract is this enforceable? Can I start trading before the 6 months?

Aside from being morally dubious, is it ok to receive my bonus and quit the next day?

And finally, I know I'll still qualify for a few weeks of stat mat pay once I quit. Are there any legalities with my date of termination and still receiving this from my current company?

All of this will majorly piss my boss off, but I've not been supported by him through my return to work with my first child, and he doesn't seem to care about my dept. I know I can do a better job than him and push elements which he doesn't care about -namely women in our sector!

Any advice gratefully received.

Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
CmdrCressidaDuck Tue 27-Aug-19 10:48:07

You might want to ask for this to be moved to Legal? There are people on there with experience in employment law as I think the devil may really be in the detail on this. You may need to discuss with your own lawyer anyway to understand if the company have any legal recourse against you, because if you actively start approaching their existing clients to switch to you they are likely to use any legal options they have, or at least threaten to.

Will you receive any enhanced maternity pay or is it all statutory?

sackrifice Tue 27-Aug-19 10:48:09

Say you resigned on 1st Jan, and started trading on the 2nd, what could they do?

What is the price that you would pay for that? What could they sue you for?

What is the actual clause?

Read this: www.mondaq.com/uk/x/631982/employment+litigation+tribunals/When+Is+A+NonCompete+Clause+Enforceable

LoisLoisLois1 Tue 27-Aug-19 14:03:37

Good point, I'll ask for it to be moved to the legal section, thank you.

I get stat mat pay, nothing enhanced.

I imagine my boss will be pretty pissed off so may seek legal action (if he could be bothered). I wouldn't want to start trading that soon, I just want the option of having meetings before September ideally so I can hit the ground running!

Thanks so much!

LochJessMonster Tue 27-Aug-19 14:11:04

The 6 month competitor clause is quite standard actually.

And an unsigned contract can still be binding through conduct i.e you have been fulfilling the contract by working the stated hours etc

As for the moral grounds- leaving after the bonus may not come across great but if its not illegal or against your contract, then you would be silly to turn down money that you have earned..

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