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I am about to start a new job which had a start date on the contract of Jan 26. I then discussed this with them and I received an email from them saying that they were now happy that I start on Jan 12. As a result of this I arranged to leave my current job on Jan 9. I have now had a call saying that because their checks have not been completed I cannot start until the original date - but there were no conditions about this in the email and I will be without pay for 2 weeks if this happens.

Are they legally allowed to do this or did the email commit them to paying me from Jan 12?

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    Because their checks haven't been completed? Sounds like this "offer" is still contingent on them. You may have jumped the gun on resigning. – Wesley Long Jan 8 '15 at 16:26
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    All offers are contingent nowadays, and often you'll start working before background checks/etc. are complete (and they'll gleefully terminate you on the spot if the check turns something up). I've never received a 'firm' offer letter in my life. – James Adam Jan 8 '15 at 16:39
  • Did they put the new start date in writing or was this verbal? – Pepone Jan 8 '15 at 23:33
  • An employer changed my start date because the original start date coincided with bad weather. If they had not changed the start date, I would not have made it in anyway because the governor declared a state of emergency and forbade travel. – emory Jan 9 '15 at 0:03
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    @JamesAdam - Sorry that's been your experience. I've never accepted anything less than a firm offer. See: workplace.stackexchange.com/a/15580/9264 – Wesley Long Jan 9 '15 at 0:21
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If there is a legal contract stating you started on a certain date, then they should pay you for the time that their delay caused them to be out of work. Of course, to force them to do this would require a lawyer if they didn't comply, and the lawyer fees may be more than the amount you'd be paid.

In short, always have money saved in some kind of emergency fund for stuff like this. But that's more of a personal finance matter.

  • Yes, but the contract may say it's dependant on the background check, so it may be valid to not pay if this is the case. I'd get someone who knows about your local employment law to have a look at the contract (a lawyer, citizens advice etc) – The Wandering Dev Manager Jan 8 '15 at 20:22
  • ^ I'm pretty sure that is the case. My point was that even if the contract didn't say that, the money and time spent lawyering up and badgering them just for a paycheck may not be worth it. I actually had this happen for the job I currently had and just ate up a week's pay. – Lawrence Aiello Jan 8 '15 at 20:26
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    "Of course, to force them to do this would require a lawyer if they didn't comply, and the lawyer fees may be more than the amount you'd be paid." Plus, y'know, suing (or even threatening to sue) your new employer is quite likely to give them a negative impression of you. – Adam V Jan 8 '15 at 20:39
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They might be willing to figure something out.

Give the hiring manager a call back and let them know that you had already quit your existing job based on the 1/12 start date and that moving the date back to the 26th will cause some personal issues. Then be quiet while they talk.

If this is a good company they'll figure something out. If not, well, you might consider restarting the job search.

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