Employer randomly changed contract without asking?
February 27, 2018 12:57 PM   Subscribe

My employer offered "5.5 months, [xx] hours per week" on a casual basis "with an extension to open ended" in November. Last week (i.e. not 5.5 months later) they suddenly showed me an open-ended but "guaranteed hours" contract with very few hours (to change randomly) which was backdated to 1 February. Even though I've declined they claim I need to sign if I want to get paid for the hours I've already worked in February.

... They say that the contract termination date would be after I got paid in March. But I don't want to sign a whole "open ended contract" only for it to terminate after a month. I think that may even have negative consequences somewhere down the line, should I start with another department (very big place). All I want is for them to pay me for February in the same way they paid for the other months, with a form for "casual workers".

I've stopped going to work as soon as they showed me the dubious contract as I'm depressed, they seemed like honest people who I had a great rapport with and I don't understand. I'm still on speaking terms so I am going to informally speak to my former manager face to face to see if I can get this cleared up informally first. However I've also contacted citizens advice and the relevant union (though the latter are very busy with strikes right now), and any advice from fellow MeFites would be greatly appreciated.
posted by yoHighness to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Your profile says you're located in the UK - is that correct? Laws, of course, vary by location.
posted by brainmouse at 1:11 PM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Was there a signed contract where you agreed to the 5.5 months, X hours per week, back in November, or was it a verbal agreement?
posted by hydra77 at 1:16 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thank you! UK is correct. I have an email from manager from November stating
"It's initially on a GH hours contract while [xx] puts through the job for approval. That will be a 17.5 part time contract for 5.5 months then an extension to open ended. If that sounds Ok we can discus in greater detail [at the meeting]." Unlike the email states it was not initially a GH contract or any signed contract - as is usual for casual hours, a form was instead filled every month stating the hours and containing a P46 (I think is what it is).
posted by yoHighness at 1:28 PM on February 27, 2018

Check with Acas, they’re very helpful.
posted by Catseye at 1:51 PM on February 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'd inquire fairly directly: "I'm concerned that this is a change from what we originally agreed to and under what I've been working all this time, can you tell me a little bit more about this?"
posted by rhizome at 3:10 PM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

From ACAS : 'An existing contract of employment can be varied only with the agreement of both parties. Changes can be agreed by with either on an individual basis or through a collective agreement. When any change to a contract of employment occurs the employer should give written notification of the changes in writing, within one month of the change taking effect.' This clearly hasn't happened.

I believe they need to pay you for the work already done; just like for example if you hired a gardener who did work for you, you need to pay them even if an actual formal written contract may not be in place, when they accepted your work they have to pay for it.

Seconding the suggestion to contact ACAS.
posted by plep at 12:55 AM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Even though I've declined they claim I need to sign if I want to get paid for the hours I've already worked in February.

Yes, this isn't true. Per CAB :
Even if you don't have anything in writing, an agreement to work for someone in return for pay means you have a contract.

Obviously such an agreement was in place, otherwise they wouldn't have let you work for them.

Just like hiring a tradesman to work on your property even when there isn't a written contract in place.

They need to pay you for February one way or the other.
posted by plep at 1:07 AM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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