I've worked for few years for an IT company as software developer, the new management wants to amend all our contracts to introduce an on call clause.
In other words it means that all developers are supposed to be part of a rota and hopefully, not more often than once a month, each developer is going to spend a weekend on call where in 48 hours he/she is expected to acknowledge alerts within 15 minutes. (And work to fix them.)
I understand the idea behind it, if you do bad software and something goes wrong at weekends, you have to fix it.
I get anxious very easily, I have a family to look after, and my hobbies as well, my weekends aren't on sale. Even if I was interested, with this contract change they are offering a salary increase of £2000 per annum.
I'm not a lazy person, I always try to understand, to help and be known as an individual with an high degree of professionalism.
But this time I really can't do it.
Once you have signed the new contract you really don't know where you may end up in few months/years time, you can stay in a team with no alerts, or may end up in a team that is flooded by alerts.
Also, the more pressure the business will do in the future for releasing new features quickly, the more chances of buggy software will be. (Pressure and support all on developers shoulders)

Can I reject this coming change in my employment contract? (I'm based in UK)


Contracts cannot change unilaterally, or they are not contracts. This is why they ask for your signature, because they need it.

You are perfectly within your bounds to reject the change, or negotiate it in a way that would make it worth to you. Every contract change is a negotiation, and every negotiation can fail.

That takes care of can, now for the should. We don't know if there's gonna be an aftermath or not. You don't seem very worried about it, at least you didn't mention anything in the post. Although unlikely, it's still possible that the company might do something petulant, so I would keep my ear to the ground if I were in your shoes, just in case.

  • 2
    Ask for something that makes you worth it. increase of 20,000 / year, only weekdays, etc. whatever. If they refuse, you don't have to sign anything. – Enric Naval Jun 12 at 11:54

They have valued your spare time at £2000, what do you value it as?

If money is not the issue, maybe ask them for some extra annual leave instead or to leave early on fridays.

They have opened up negotiations with this new contract offer, you don't have to accept the first offer.

If you really feel you cannot do it then talk to your boss and explain your reasons, some of the other staff might be willing to give up more of their time for more money so you don't have to be on call

  • 1
    Important: There is payment for being "on call" which means you can't travel far away, you can't be away from your mobile phone, you can't drink alcohol, you might have to leave your guests at your barbecue, and there is the overtime payment for actual work. £2,000 may cover the former, but I wouldn't consider that as payment for actually having to work. – gnasher729 Jun 12 at 22:52
  • The £2000/annum includes everything, standby and work on call – donuts Jun 13 at 20:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.