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What to do if contract terms aren’t acceptable?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by stlw, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. stlw

    stlw New commenter

    Advice please. I have just received job offer in writing and contract and I’m not happy with some of the clauses. What do I do now?
  2. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Either accept them or request to be released from the contract.

    Unfortunately since you've verbally accepted, I don't think they have to release you.
  3. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Question the terms of the contract. I assume they're not burgundy book or you wouldn't be surprised.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Some more detail would help people here respond. What, more specifically, don't you like?

    You've just received the written offer, you haven't accepted it yet, so there's no contract in force between you and the school at this time. You have 3 options - accept it anyway, reject it and don't take up the job, or attempt to negotiate changes.

    Negotiating changes depends on what it is you don't like. If it's standard teacher T&C in their school, sick pay etc, don't waste your time. They won't change them for you. If it's something specific to you, maybe something you discussed at interview, you might be able to get something agreed.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Are you unhappy because you agreed something else at interview? It could be a simply typing error.
    Are you unhappy because you hoped for something different? Email or telephone and negotiate. Be prepared to give and take a little.

    Schools expect a bit of negotiation and you should have accepted the verbal offer 'subject to agreeable terms and conditions'. Ultimately if you can't reach an agreement that suits both parties, you may have to let the job go. There will be others.
  6. stlw

    stlw New commenter

    Thank you for responses. The clause bothering me in particular is 12month probationary can be extended by 6 months. Within probationary ONE weeks notice can be given?
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Well, it's legal - minimum statutory notice period by employer until you've been employed for 2 years is one week.


    All you can do is ask. But if it's their standard employment contract expect the answer to be 'take it or leave it'.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Do you mean 1 week's notice of extending probationary period, or 1 week's notice of termination of employment?

    Personally I think both are probably completely standard.

    In example 1: If it were longer, then by default your probationary period would be shorter than 12months. e.g. If you were entitled to 1months notice that your probationary period is being extended, then in practice your probationary period would only be 11months.

    In example 2: It will be part of the standard policy of the school. The right would be reciprocal as well, if you rock up and day 1 realise you have made a horrible mistake then you also only have to give 1 weeks notice, which is ideal if you are wanting to start job hunting immediately.
    sabrinakat and agathamorse like this.
  9. MrLW1

    MrLW1 New commenter

    Maybe it's just the schools I've taught in but I've never come across a contract for a permanent post (and I assume it's a permanent post?) with just one week notice period. I mean isn't that a bit risky for a school knowing at any point they might have just 7 days to find a decent candidate to fill a job vacancy?
    Flanks and HolyMahogany like this.
  10. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Yes, I agree with you, but it's obviously a risk the school are willing to accept (assuming that it is notice of resignation etc)
  11. MrLW1

    MrLW1 New commenter

    I was commenting more on your description of it as 'standard' - by which I took as usual or common, which I think it definitely isn't.
  12. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    I have worked for 2 academy chains who use the burgundy book with the exact same clause. It's very standard now in academies.

    Remember it works both ways - you only have to give 1 week's notice if you don't like it either.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. MrLW1

    MrLW1 New commenter

    In that case it's yet another reason why i'm glad I don't work in an academy..
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Notice periods are usually a minimum, employer (and employee) can give longer.
  15. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Occasional commenter

    The length of probation is ridiculous. I would have thought three months is more than enough to decide if you will fit. How much do you want you job, and are you prepared to not take it? What are the alternatives? Is yours a shortage subject? Have you kept applying to other jobs, to see what you can get? It sounds like they want you for a year then will check their staffing needs!!

    Personally, I would tell them clearly the probationary period is unreasonable. You haven't accepted any contract yet so negotiate. I'd query this politely and suggest three months with one month's notice and see what they say, perhaps be prepared to accept six months. If they had trouble recruiting you for a shortage subject, they may relent. You will need to stick up for yourself as no one else will in teaching now. Each academy can offer what they like. They know people find it hard to say no so will try it on. Also, make sure the notice period is two-way!

    Good luck. Post the outcome!
  16. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Occasional commenter

    Also remember, the way they have the contract, there is absolutely nothing stopping you applying for other jobs. If something then comes up which you are happier with, just tell them you are giving notice, but are happy not to start at all if they want. Use this stupid contract to your advantage and focus on finding something that fits in with your needs.

    If this were me, I think I would leave it a few weeks then query this, keep stringing it out, but all the time keep applying for other jobs and see what's about.
  17. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    OP, you can negotiate if you wish - simply tell the school that you are not prepared to sign a contract including [whichever ref. number the clause is], but would sign if this is removed OR cross out the clause(s) you don't accept and sign & return the contact - they then have to either accept or reject your version of the contract OR tell them you aren't prepared to accept the contract as given and are withdrawing.
  18. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I've known 2 schools come unstuck because it hadn't occurred to them that 1 weeks notice works both ways...
    agathamorse likes this.

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