12

I work as a software developer in the UK. I was offered and accepted a new job three weeks ago which is due to start next Monday. I have signed an offer letter and other documentation, but not my contract (that is done on my first day).

In accordance with the UK coronavirus response of "work from home where possible", I am working from home in my current role.

Can my new employer move my start date back (if so will I have no income for weeks/months)? Can they revoke the job offer? Is it possible for me to work from home at a new job?

Are these all questions for my new employer? If so, how can I ask these in a way which won't jeopardise my new working relationship and/or see me without income for the next few weeks?

Thank you for reading all my questions. Apologies, but I'm feeling very uncertain of my position and how I will be able to pay rent/bills in the coming months.

3
  • 20
    I understand the discomfort you must be feeling right now - but I'm afraid these are really questions you will have to direct to your new employer. Good luck! – motosubatsu Mar 17 '20 at 13:26
  • Thank you for your response @motosubatsu, appreciate it. – ryan123 Mar 17 '20 at 13:27
  • Just seen this: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/155092/…, apologises for not finding it before posting, not sure it totally answers my question though. – ryan123 Mar 17 '20 at 13:30
25

I understand the discomfort you must be feeling right now - but I'm afraid these are really questions you will have to direct to your new employer. But that said there are a few things we can clear up:

Can my new employer move my start date back? (if so will I have no income for weeks/months?)

This is a grey area - if they've already put your start date in writing (be it in an email or hardcopy) in an offer or contract (in this case the job offer essentially forms the contract of employment until they have you sign the actual one) they can only really put it back by mutual consent. If it's vaguer then it's going to be trickier.

Can they revoke the job offer?

Technically no they can't - assuming the offer was either unconditional or that all conditions have been met by yourself then the offer is binding. But what they can do is essentially let you go immediately and only be on the hook for the minimum amount of notice that is required by the contract. Since you don't have a seperate contract yet this would fall back to the statutory minimums, which is a week.

Is it possible for me to work from home at a new job?

This is entirely between yourself and the new employer - the current exigent circumstances are making this very much a hot question amongst employees and employers alike. The official guideline to "work from home where possible" was only announced late yesterday so not everywhere has sorted things out fully yet.

how can I ask these in a way which won't jeopardise my new working relationship and/or see me without income for the next few weeks?

The best approach is to ask these with the presumption that the job will be going ahead as planned, you're expecting to start working for them on Monday and ask how they want to proceed. One thing that will be helpful to remember is that everyone is in uncharted territory right now - and if you can approach this with the attitude of working with them to resolve the challenges that's generally better than simply stating questions or demands so if you can bring suggestions all the better e.g:

Given the current situation and the government recommendation to work remotely what's the company currently doing? How do you want to approach starting on Monday? We could have a teleconference/skype/whatever

You get the idea.

3
  • 2
    Thank you @motosubatsu! This is very clear advice which answered all of my questions. – ryan123 Mar 17 '20 at 13:51
  • 2
    'The best approach is to ask these with the presumption that the job will be going ahead as planned' - well put! – iLuvLogix Mar 17 '20 at 15:10
  • 2
    One thing that will be helpful to remember is that everyone is in uncharted territory right now - I think that bears emphasis. I've got a developer starting on my team on Monday, and we're at a bit of a loss for an onboarding plan. We are all currently working remotely, but things are changing so quickly it's hard to know if any plan we make today will still be valid on Monday. – dwizum Mar 17 '20 at 17:19
0

How the coronavirus epidemic will affect your job depends on your role and responsibilities, and on the company itself. They already went through the whole hiring process with you, the only case where your hiring would be cancelled is in case of an exceptional downsizing.

However... we still don't know how the epidemic will affect the economy six months from now, and often the last ones to join are the first ones to go. So:

  1. check the situation directly with your new employer
  2. even remotely, make sure you network as much as possible in your new job, to build relationships which might protect you when the recession gets worse
  3. keep working on your personal network and seeking new job opportunities, don't run out of options if a downsizing comes up later.

Good luck!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .