I have been working at the company for 2 years now. I am an office supervisor and on a 1 month notice.

Now the company is changing the employees contracts and increasing the notice period from 1 month to 2 months. All of us need to sign a new contract with this change and everyone finds it absolutely ridiculous.

Are employers allowed to issue a new contract to increase the notice period to 2 months? If I object to this, what are my options?

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    You may want to edit your question to keep the parts which are your question, while removing the parts where you're just complaining about your job. – Sneftel Jan 16 '18 at 8:53
  • I've added a summary in an attempt to turn this in to a legible question. Please feel free to roll the changes back if it doesn't summarise your question properly, or edit the post if you think it can be further improved. – trashpanda Jan 16 '18 at 9:15
  • The updated terms in the contract is only related to the notice period being extended as all our contracts are for 1 month notice, nothing else is amended. Hope this clarifies. Thanks again for your answers. – Celine J Godines Jan 16 '18 at 9:50
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    @jmoreno while you're correct in that the basics of the question are the same the fact that we know this OP is in the UK allows for more specific answers than the suggested duplicate so I'd suggest keeping this one open – motosubatsu Jan 16 '18 at 13:49
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    If they are trying to change all the contracts I would speak to your union representatives. If you have none it might be a good time to get them. – mmmmmm Jan 16 '18 at 17:49

Whether you are a manager or not is irrelevent - a notice period above the statuatory minimum may be put in place for any job if both parties agree.

Notice though the key word there "agree". From your mention of "Brexit" I'm assuming you are in the UK, that being the case they can't change your contract without your consent. However you do need to make sure that they are aware that you aren't consenting to the change (remaining silent is generally seen as tacit agreement), if you want to fight the change then you have a few options:

  1. You can refuse to work under the new terms

  2. You can continue to work under the new terms under protest, and are treating the change as a breach of contract

  3. Resign and claim constructive dismissal (and take your case to an employment tribunal)

As Dukeling points out in his comment below none of these three is likely to result in you still working there unless your employer is smarter than they sound and knows to back down but the upside is that basically as long as you don't just keep quiet and do nothing you do have the law on your side and they can't completely screw you over.

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    In any of those 3 cases, one should also start looking for a new job (i.e. treat the first two as likely to lead to termination). Possibly related: Why shouldn't I resign when I haven't secured another job? – Bernhard Barker Jan 16 '18 at 9:37
  • @Dukeling indeed - after reading your comment I realized that I hadn't been clear about that so I've updated my answer to cover that aspect. – motosubatsu Jan 16 '18 at 10:16
  • Its common in the UK for notice periods to go up with length of service especially after 2 years have passed and its probably not even a change of contract as contracts often have the ability to make variation to notice periods. The statutory minimums also go up with length of service. – Neuromancer Jan 16 '18 at 12:27
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    @Neuromancer Yep that's all true and contractual notice period escalators linked to service are not uncommon but that doesn't appear to be the situation the OP is in given they explicitly mention signing new contracts which puts it squarely into a change of contract scenario. – motosubatsu Jan 16 '18 at 12:31
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    @gnasher729 I very much doubt you'd win a constructive dismissal case based on notice period alone - but it's not completely out of the bounds of possibility. If you could demonstrate that the proposed increase would severely impede your ability to find other work in your field for example it becomes a case of "leave now or find yourself stuck here" which could be construed as constructive dismissal. That said I don't think that would be the case here but I felt the need to include it for completeness. – motosubatsu Jan 17 '18 at 9:41

You are entirely free to refuse, and you are entirely free to negotiate about it.

The company has to honour the contract you originally signed, you are under no obligation to sign a new contract if you do not wish to. And, in the U.K., there are reasonable protections against unfair dismissal, etc.

I was in a similar situation, I was given a contract with a longer notice period, I said I would sign it in exchange for a salary increase of £X - the company went away to think about it and I heard no more.

Of course, there are those who actively want a longer notice period, as this cuts both ways (if there are redundancies, etc.)

But don’t feel stressed about just saying no.


I assume that the notice period works for both sides. So you lose the ability to leave within one month, but you are also protected by two months notice period if you accept it. So this change doesn't make things worse, it makes them different. Of course it's up to you what you prefer. Some people will be happy with that change.

You don't have to accept any contract change. You have a valid contract. You can't be fired for refusing to sign this contract. You can be fired if you either behave in a way that is totally unacceptable, or if the company can prove that they don't need you anymore, that the work you are doing isn't anymore required, and they have no other work for you. Which would be pretty hard to prove since they just offered you a longer notice period. If a company thought they didn't need you, they would want a shorter notice period, not a longer one.

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