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I have received a permanent job offer (geography: United Kingdom), which includes a 3-months notice period clause. There's also an unusual clause stating that the employer may claim damages if the employee don't serve the complete notice period.

Is it common in permanent roles for the employer to go after leavers and try to obtain financial damages for notice period related matters?

Although the word senior is mentioned in the job title, there's nothing extraordinary about the position; it's just another software engineering role.

Also, there's a clause that states they can terminate the contract at any time by giving a payment of 30 days.

So before signing the contract should I negotiate with them to reduce the notice period to 1 month?

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    Remove the question " Is there a common law that supersedes it?" and this may be fit for the site. I think it's a valid question - should the same notice period apply to both sides? Is it fair that you have to give 3 months notice but the employer only needs to give you a month? – AdzzzUK Apr 28 '20 at 10:04
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    @TymoteuszPaul As suggested by somebody above, I am willing to remove the common law sentence. Would you be kind enough to remove the block on the question? as its really pressing & I would like to get answer from UK community. Cheers – user6176517 Apr 28 '20 at 10:52
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    In the UK, I would never, ever, ever accept a contractual penalty for not serving the notice period. I would also never accept notice periods that are not the same for both sides. – gnasher729 Apr 28 '20 at 15:01
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    @user6176517, This is a red flag. I would be outraged if I were you! Even if you could change the contract to a one month notice on both sides, do you really want to work for an employer like that? If they're going to treat you like that before the contract is signed, what else are they going to try while you're working for them. If you accept such a job (even with the modified contract), you really deserve what's coming to you. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 28 '20 at 17:47
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    My advice would be to just walk away from this abusive employer and not even look back. But if you really want me to vote to reopen the question, you'll have to change your question. Instead of asking "So before signing the contract should I negotiate with them to reduce the notice period to 1 month?", ask "How should I negotiate with them to reduce the notice period to one month on both sides? Also, I don't want to have to buy malpractice insurance, how do I argue against being liable for "any loss suffered by the Company arising from [my] failure to work [my] full contractual notice"? – Stephan Branczyk Apr 29 '20 at 15:21
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There's also an unusual clause stating that the employer may claim damages if the employee don't serve the complete notice period.

I've seen that before.

Is it common in permanent roles for the employer to go after leavers and try to obtain financial damages for notice period related matters? Is there a common law that supersedes it?

It is for more menial jobs(1) and if the employee is not leaving on good terms. It depends entirely on the company/leaver.

So before signing the contract should I negotiate with them to reduce the notice period to 1 month?

Yes, if you like. Everything is negotiable. I would cite inconsistencies within the contractual terms, rather than "I don't like it".

Is there another clause which states that the contract can be terminated for any reason within the first n months?

My feeling in such matters is that I would sign anything which is fair and equal to both parties. I would either get the notice period reduced or the termination period increased or stricken from the contract.


(1) I have a friend who is a chef who went through this for a number of jobs over a succession of years. I got to know the employment lawyers quite well as my friend is functionally illiterate and needed a lot of support.

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  • It also states that - 'Organization may deduct from any final monies owing to you any additional cost of covering your duties for the period not worked or an amount equal to any loss suffered by the Company arising from your failure to work your full contractual notice.' Is it limited risk ringfensed by withheld salary payment or is it unlimited risk? – user6176517 Apr 29 '20 at 13:26
  • some useful article : crunch.co.uk/knowledge/employment/… – user6176517 Apr 29 '20 at 18:25
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    @user6176517 I've never seen that (Organization may deduct...) clause in any employment contract OR services contract (I'm an IT contractor). DO NOT sign this. Seek advice from Citizen's Advice Bureau. In my opinion this is a serious red flag, and reason enough to walk away from this "opportunity". – Justin Apr 30 '20 at 9:58
  • I talked to a lawyer & they said such clause is anyways implied whether explicitly written or not. – user6176517 May 1 '20 at 11:14

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