I recently been offered a new job and the contract was issued to me. My employment date set out in the contract is 1st April. I signed the contract after reading the T&Cs and issued it back to my new employer.

However, I’ve received an email saying that my new employment date will be 2nd April (due to the bank holiday on 1st April). They want me to sign the PDF to confirm that I’ve accepted the new employment date for 2nd April and my T&Cs will remain the same.

I’ve asked if changing the employment date will have an affect on my April pay and they said I’ll get full pay minus one day. I know it’s only one day being deducted but I’m annoyed because they normally pay their staff on bank holidays, so I don’t see why I should have one day deducted, especially since I’ve already signed the documentation confirming my employment date will be April 1st.

Are my new employer allowed to do this? Any advice will be much appreciated


6 Answers 6


Of course the other question that must be considered is whether you want to start the relationship with a perception that you are inflexible, even if they are starting it with a perception that they're stingy and disorganized.

Is one day's pay really worth the argument? Maybe it is. But maybe it isn't. Judgement call, I'm afraid.


They're certainly allowed to ask your permission, which is why they've asked you to sign a variation (although, legally, such a one-sided change could technically be "void for lack of valuable consideration").

I think my approach would be to explain that you can't afford to forfeit a day's pay, and that you'd already aligned the ending of your previous contract.

You might add, you hadn't realised yourself until now that the day was a bank holiday for Easter Monday, but part of the terms you've accepted include payment on bank holidays, and there's no reason why your salary covering this bank holiday should be forfeit just because it falls on your first day of employment.

There's no loss to them, compared to if you had started 01-Apr and the Easter bank holiday had then occurred mid-month.

It's also certainly a bit late for them to be raising the issue on Good Friday.

You might also find that an underlying issue could be that there are no staff available to run a standard "new joiner" process on the first day of arrival, so that they'll effectively have legal relations with an employee who is (until the next working day) not on record. But that's their problem really, not yours.


I'm gonna take a potentially unpopular stance here, but I think it matters who first suggested April 1st as the first day.

If you suggested it, you ought to have known full well that it's a holiday, and that the employer will get zero value from your employment when your first day is a holiday, and so it would seem (from their perspective) that you just wanted to get extra pay for no work. In which case, it's entirely reasonable (honestly, expected) that they expect you to accept their change.

If they suggested April 1, then I think you have a case for suggesting (as one of the comments here mentions) that they make April 1's pay become a sign-on bonus for April 2, because your financial plans were made while taking their request into consideration.

In either case, I would let April 2 be the official start of employment, unless you have non-financial reasons why April 1 would matter for you. (I'm not familiar with UK laws, but in other countries this might include things like continuity of employment, health insurance lapsing, etc.)


In answer to your question: they are allowed to offer you a change to the start date, and you are allowed to accept or reject that offer.

In response to your request for general advice: If your new employer is this keen to avoid paying you for a legitimate bank holiday, you should consider whether you really want to work for them... but I digress.

If this happened to me: I would reply and say "no thank you, I've already made arrangements based on the contract we already have in place - why is changing my start date by a single day so important to you? is there a problem?" And depending on their response, I could add "if it was that important, you should have checked that before you sent the contract to me - it's too late now, the earlier contract has already been accepted and actioned by me".

When you consider that you may have timed your resignation on the old job to end before the bank holiday, their request feels intuitively out of line - you're meant to miss out on public holiday pay this year because they didn't check a contract before sending it to you?

I had a similar issue a few years back wherein I resigned and my last day of employment fell on a public holiday. The employer wanted to change my employment end date to be prior to the holiday. I firmly said if they took such action, it would no longer be resignation and would instead be termination/dismissal, which would be met with an unfair dismissal claim (as this was in Australia). They did pay me for the holiday, begrudgingly so.

  • 2
    They might be unable to pay someone with no accumulated work hours before a holiday. Pay systems have lots of built-in, very inflexible rules to prevent abuse and exploitation of edge cases. I blame the programmers :-) Mar 31 at 13:35
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    @HappyIdiot That would be a funny rule to add, but I suppose it wouldn't surprise me at all! One might think they would be able to do manual processing to work around the problem though... and if it was a known rule in the system, they should ensure their offers of employment conform to their system/policies.
    – fabspro
    Apr 3 at 9:53
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    My favorite "should", if we are comparing, is: "People should have everything that they need." In this case it would mean that employment to do useful and enjoyable work ought not to be so tied to pay and thus to life itself that money becomes a driving consideration. With that rule, no one would give a fig about start dates (see what I did there?) end dates, vacation or sick days, healthcare insurance and basically most of what made western civilization what it is today. Work would be more like patronage of artists in the middle ages. But who would cut the grass? Apr 3 at 11:00
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    @HappyIdiot Language like that explains why I tune out in my day-to-day life when I hear corporate speak... At least you can admire the thought behind it though :)
    – fabspro
    Apr 6 at 1:23
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    @HappyIdiot The simplest contracts are definitely the best, leaving as much as possible to the usual rules that everyone already knows. The tax code is certainly an example of starting with a simple system, and then adding many new rules to fix lots of little specific situations - ending in a nearly unworkable mess. Thank you for the book idea, I may pick up a copy.
    – fabspro
    Apr 7 at 4:51

The important question is not if you sign or not. Winning this fight gives may you one day of pay - it actually does not matter. If they go the extra round to poach this one day payment from you already at the start, you should not trust the person or dept initiating this a single bit.

I would look for a new job and in the moment you found one you may leave (potentially in the probation time period) - at the same time look if this was a fluke and if your direct manager (who may or may not be involved in this situation) is OK.


Should you take it: Yes


This really isn't anything nefarious. They want you to provide value to them, that's why they're paying you. If the first day of your work is quite literally no work at all, then it's very understandable for them to want to move the start date.

This is no different from you wanting to move an appointment if you forgot that on that day, you already had prior engagement

Considering all they ask is a single day's worth of move, and the reason they ask is because it's a holiday where you cannot provide value, I don't see it as wrong

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