Is this Breach of Contract?

#1
G'day helpful folk,

In July, I started a 6 month contract at a bank in Belgium for a 4 day week. It's through a UK agency and the pay and VAT are done in the UK.

The bank now only need me for 3 days and the agency have negotiated for me to be paid 3.25 days per week. I've not accepted this yet and am loath to as it's a whacking loss over the next 3 months.

Given the the contract itself is clearly for 4 days, am I entitled to demand 4 days pay for 3 days work? If they refuse to pay for the full 4 days, are they in breach? Can I then go to the Small Claims Court? If I win what could I expect to get?

Thank you very much,

Richard
 
#2
Speak to a lawyer.

I suspect that on a 6 month contract you are on 7 days notice, and they just might call that in.

msr
 
#3
trickywoo said:
G'day helpful folk,

In July, I started a 6 month contract at a bank in Belgium for a 4 day week. It's through a UK agency and the pay and VAT are done in the UK.

The bank now only need me for 3 days and the agency have negotiated for me to be paid 3.25 days per week. I've not accepted this yet and am loath to as it's a whacking loss over the next 3 months.

Given the the contract itself is clearly for 4 days, am I entitled to demand 4 days pay for 3 days work? If they refuse to pay for the full 4 days, are they in breach? Can I then go to the Small Claims Court? If I win what could I expect to get?

Thank you very much,

Richard
Dear Richard,

1. I don't think you are the real trickywoo. You are not abusive enough.

2. I don't know.

Hope this helps.

Sluggy xx
 
#4
It's the standard one month's notice either way after the first month. 7 day contracts wouldn't be acceptable to anyone, especially given the machinations needed to set up work abroad, although all contracts have an instant dismissal 'get out clause' but that's for the bank not the agency to use. I work in IT security so the terms may not be the same for other types of wik.

Richard
 
#5
You really need an employment lawyer as this could get tricky.

Does the original contract have a variation and notice clause? If not it is a breach and you should be able to sue for the full sum of the contract, or your losses, if you leave and find another post.

If there is a variation and notice clause, (and frankly there should be!), you need to decide if the change undermines the value of the whole contract to you and stay or leave as you see fit.

Going to law is a risk - you might lose. Working on without lodging a complaint could prejudice a later claim, so get your advice early. Your agency could do with growing a backbone, (although it may be their cock-up in the first place).
 
#6
It certainly is their c0ck-up. The guy I deal with at the agency has already admitted it on the phone although of course I do realise this means nowt in court. There is no clause at allow for any variation in the 4 days. The agency actually haven't yet agreed terms with the Bank on their side so they're shafted as far as I can see. So, if it's for the whole lot then I'll send the letter now. I'm due back in Brussels on Wednesday so if the reply isn't to my satisfaction I'll simply not go back. Not a great way to end a contract with a national bank!

Thanks,

Richard
 
#7
You are entitled to be paid for 4 days if this is what was agreed, but if they refuse and you terminate for breach of contract, the most you will get is your wages for the notice period, a month. This may or may not be what you are after, depending on what other work you can get.

Not having seen the contract, this is just the general principle and is not legal advice. There may be specific clauses in the contract allowing them to vary your employment terms.
 
#8
trickywoo said:
It certainly is their c0ck-up. The guy I deal with at the agency has already admitted it on the phone although of course I do realise this means nowt in court. There is no clause at allow for any variation in the 4 days. The agency actually haven't yet agreed terms with the Bank on their side so they're shafted as far as I can see. So, if it's for the whole lot then I'll send the letter now. I'm due back in Brussels on Wednesday so if the reply isn't to my satisfaction I'll simply not go back. Not a great way to end a contract with a national bank!

Thanks,

Richard
Are you contracted through the agency or do they just do the finders fee bit? If you are employed directly by the agency then check the contract you signed with the agency as this is the binding one, not the arrangement with the bank. If thats the case, there's often a clause that the client may, without notice, terminate the services of the employee blah blah.
 
#9
Cracking stuff and just what I was hoping to hear.

"Are you contracted through the agency or do they just do the finders fee bit? If you are employed directly by the agency then check the contract you signed with the agency as this is the binding one, not the arrangement with the bank. If thats the case, there's often a clause that the client may, without notice, terminate the services of the employee blah blah."

It is the case and there's no clause at all. Only the Bank can terminate the contract immediately.

You are entitled to be paid for 4 days if this is what was agreed, but if they refuse and you terminate for breach of contract, the most you will get is your wages for the notice period, a month. This may or may not be what you are after, depending on what other work you can get.

I'll invoice them for 4 days for 1 month and give notice too. I guess this means I need to work the last month then or if it's breach should I not go back at all?

"Not having seen the contract, this is just the general principle and is not legal advice. There may be specific clauses in the contract allowing them to vary your employment terms."


Just looked again and there's deffo no clauses like that. All it says is:

Hours of service: 4 days per week. Extra days to be agreed in advance with the Client (Bank).
 
#10
Can I jus say how much I miss Albert Tatlock, stalwart of The Rovers Return?
 
#12
trickywoo said:
G'day helpful folk,

In July, I started a 6 month contract at a bank in Belgium for a 4 day week. It's through a UK agency and the pay and VAT are done in the UK.

The bank now only need me for 3 days and the agency have negotiated for me to be paid 3.25 days per week. I've not accepted this yet and am loath to as it's a whacking loss over the next 3 months.

Given the the contract itself is clearly for 4 days, am I entitled to demand 4 days pay for 3 days work? If they refuse to pay for the full 4 days, are they in breach? Can I then go to the Small Claims Court? If I win what could I expect to get?

Thank you very much,

Richard
How are you paid, by the agency or through an Umbrella company ?? There are many companies out there offering legal advice for self employed/contractors but I would of thought that as the original contract was for 4 days a week and they want to change it then it is down to your Agency to re-negotiate with you on the customers behalf.

What are the agency saying as they should be pushing back to the customer. Hold out for minimum 3.5 days and start looking for something else.

Who pays your flights/accom over there, you or customer?
 
#13
And as for Stan Ogden; did he really deserve the ear bashing he always received?
 
#14
How are you paid, by the agency or through an Umbrella company ??

The SMC "umbrella Company" malarky ended earlier this year. Or at least most of the big players stopped doing it. 1st Contact were my choice and they moved all their SMCs to Limited or PAYE! I'ver had mine for years now and it's a standard Limited Company with VAT reg so I pay all Eurostars and hotels etc then claim it back from Big Gordon. I'm thinking of going for a rebate this quarter :)

"I would of thought that as the original contract was for 4 days a week and they want to change it then it is down to your Agency to re-negotiate with you on the customers behalf."

They tried and came up with 3.25 which is derisory, especially as they're almost certainly getting at least £200 a day on the back of my efforts. Please, do not get me started on agents commission. This morning I found that one was bagging £350 a DAY for me earlier this year. That's on top of what I get paid. Fecks sake do I ever feel a mug.
 
#15
Just out of interest I take it you have spoken to ACAS if tis a UK contract.

0845-7474747
 
#17
trickywoo said:
If they refuse to pay for the full 4 days, are they in breach? Can I then go to the Small Claims Court? If I win what could I expect to get?
Depends (a) on the precise wording in the contract and (b) which national legal jurisdiction you fall under (sounds like Britain but it could be Brussels - you'd be MUCH better off with the latter. You might even not have access to British courts if you've been employed for less than a year).

You could even have a constructive dismissal case (which are fun). If so, you need specialist legal advice on how best to deal with it. If the money isn't a vast amount you might be better off just getting what free legal advice you can (ACAS, CAB, etc) putting as much pressure on the agency/employer as you can, then taking the cash and forgetting about it. Depends partly on how angry you're feeling, and how much of your life you’re prepared to devote to arguing with them.
 
#18
No problem. It's their public enquiry phone number. They're either good or bad depending on who is on the desk. Sometimes they have just had a similar case and you can find out how that one was resolved.
 
#19
If you establish a fundamental breach of your contract (which a clear refusal, or an actual failure, to pay the agreed wage is), you can terminate without notice and claim damages instead. Damages are calculated on the basis that since your employer could have terminated you on a month's notice, you are only entitled to a month's wages maximum. You don't actually give notice or work out the notice period.

However, you have a duty to mitigate your loss, so you have to make reasonable efforts to find alternative work. If you end up worse off, because it takes you 3 weeks to find another job, then the damages are for the difference. If you find a better-paying job straight away, they owe you nothing, because you have suffered no loss.

You should be aware that if you refuse to work 3 days they may give you notice to terminate, and then you will be forced to work out your notice period. There is authority that a threat to give you notice if you don't agree to vary your terms is repudiatory, but this is fairly controversial.

I imagine a bank would have a HR team that understands basic employment law, so they may either give you one month's notice or back down. In sensitive industries such as a bank, they may not want you to work out your notice period if they think relations have broken down and they think you may screw them over out of spite. They would then pay you a month's notice and tell you to go on gardening leave and not come back, but I doubt they will do this here as it would be cheaper just to pay you for 4 days.

You should obviously get everything in writing. Don't underestimate how much of a ball-ache litigation is, and you never are 100% sure of winning.

This is assuming the contract is governed by English law, not some other law. Again, this is not legal advice, if you want proper advice get an employment lawyer to look at your contract.

edited to correct typo
 

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