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Firstly apologies if this is a naive question - I've only ever had 1 job and I have been there 6 years.

I recently got offered a new job elsewhere - it's a significant step up and much closer in line with what I want to be doing career-wise. After verbally accepting the offer via a recruitment agency, I was sent a formal written offer which I had to sign and return to the new employer.

I subsequently received an email from the employer advising that I had now completed all the "hiring steps" and that I would receive my employment contract in "due course" . The notice period for my current employer is 3 months, so I don't actually start the new job until the end of May.

So far it's been about a month since accepting the written offer and I have still not received my employment contract. In contrast when I started with my current employer, I received the contract within days of accepting the offer verbally.

My question is two-fold:

  1. Is this odd?
  2. Is it too soon to enquire about this?
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    Have you a direct line of contact to anyone in their HR? A month sounds like a long time to have heard nothing from them. – user34587 Apr 4 '18 at 14:14
  • Yes I have - only to confirm my start date though. – dcrdev Apr 4 '18 at 14:15
  • You have a contract once you accepted the offer its common to get the written particulars after you start gov.uk/employment-contracts-and-conditions – Neuromancer Apr 4 '18 at 14:40
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    By "employment contract" I think you mean your terms and conditions of employment. You already have an employment contract. A contract is an agreement. You and your new employer have now formally entered into that agreement. It's normal to receive your terms and conditions of employment after you start, usually as part of your orientation. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Apr 5 '18 at 14:17
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After verbally accepting the offer via a recruitment agency, I was sent a formal written offer which I had to sign and return to the new employer.

This formal written offer, signed by you, is your contract, under UK law.

I subsequently received an email from the employer advising that I had now completed all the "hiring steps" and that I would receive my employment contract in "due course" .

Though people often term further information "contract", it's actually legally "Terms and Conditions" (Ts&Cs). In the UK your employer is legally required to provide you with written Ts&Cs by the time you've been working for them for 3 months.

So far it's been about a month since accepting the written offer and I have still not received my employment contract.

Well, with your 3 month notice period my maths says your new employer still has 5 months left.

My question is two-fold:

Is this odd?

Is it too soon to enquire about this?

Yeah, it's a little unusual. I'd normally expect to receive Ts&Cs with the actual contract. But it can't be too unusual given the legal requirement for within 3 months of starting.

I can't see any harm in following up with the employer.

  • Thank you - this makes the most sense to me. I did email the new employer in the end, waiting for a response now. – dcrdev Apr 6 '18 at 15:16
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Having worked in the UK and held a lot of jobs, I can tell you this is perfectly normal. I joined the Civil Service 2 months ago, and I had to wait 6 weeks to receive my contract after receiving a written offer. The delay was due to the length of the background checks and staff holidays.

I would contact HR, first by email, then by phone if you have no response, to ask for an update. I always assume that the staff are well-natured and that the contract may be stuck in a process.

PS. As mentioned before, I've worked in a lot of jobs. From my anecdotal evidence, standards in hiring and onboarding in the UK have declined. I too went from waiting a few days for a contract to months. Maybe it is a symptom of many companies cutting costs?

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Reach out to your prospective employer and ask if they have had a chance to get a contract sorted. Maybe suggest that, rather than emailing it, you could swing by one afternoon/weekend.

I think a lot of companies fall behind on this stuff and I wouldn't be too concerned about it myself, however if you have no proof of additional benefits, such as more than statutory holiday or perhaps overtime rates, then I'd be eager to get the 'finer' details sorted before you officially leave your current role.

Good luck with your new job!

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It can vary by profession, company etc. Your best bet will be to contact either someone in their HR department or the manager who interviewed you. You're just asking for an update after all. I'm based in the UK and a month is a reasonable time to have waited to confirm if there have been any changes. All they may say is that it is in the mail or they have to iron out the finer points in the contract. It is very unlikely they will hold it against you, just for asking for an update.

If you are due to start in May but you have a three-month notice period, it may be worth enquiring about a change to the expected start date. No company should expect you to have handed in your notice before the contract has been signed and received by the company.

  • err you have a contact once you accepted the offer there should not be any changes – Neuromancer Apr 4 '18 at 14:41
  • True, but this contact ought to be informed if the OP is due to start in May while he/she's still in their notice period. – user34587 Apr 4 '18 at 14:58
  • Yeah I was unsure about this one too - on the one hand the written letter I signed outlined what the position was and the salary, but on the other hand it didn't cover the finer point such as holiday allowance, working hours etc... – dcrdev Apr 4 '18 at 15:01
  • @dcrdev in the UK they tend to put that in the employee handbook so its not contractual - most leave, and working hours is standard and " salaried" roles don't have fixed hours of work – Neuromancer Apr 4 '18 at 17:14
  • Hmm OK - I just sort of assumed they would be as they are in my current contract, which is also salaried. – dcrdev Apr 5 '18 at 8:12

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