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I'm currently contracting for a firm in the UK. I am on a 12-month contract which comes up for renewal end of April.

I'm also planning on moving to a new city in the summer (some time in August).

While I move I want to take a three week period of leave, and after I have moved it will no longer be practical for me to commute to work every day, so I plan to approach my employer to ask for the leave, and to propose a flexible working arrangement when I come back from leave.

My question is about when to make the approach.

I could approach now, so as to give them maximum notice of my change of circumstances. However, I am wary that this will influence their decision of whether to renew. Or I could wait until after I have been renewed (May).

My goal is to get the best outcome, which would be a renewal based on my going onto a flexible working arrangement after the summer. The renewal is important to me because I like working here and feel a sense of responsibility for my project. I won't overly struggle to find new work if I don't get renewed.

  • Is renewal automatic? Can't you just raise the issue at the renewal meeting? The company will let you know when the right time is.... – Teacher KSHuang Feb 22 '17 at 11:59
  • @TeacherKSHuang - no renewal is not automatic. I will be approached with a renewal offer probably some time march/april, if their intention is to renew – numenor Feb 22 '17 at 12:00
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    Then that is probably the best time. When they approach you is the time to approach them. I would approach this issue the way I would approach "vacation dates that had been decided prior to signing a contract," that is, I would inform upon discussion of the contract. And if you're really still afraid that it might affect the renewal process, after having brought up the dates, I would ask, "Do you think this will affect my renewal?" as modestly as possible :D. – Teacher KSHuang Feb 22 '17 at 12:02
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    @TeacherKSHuang thanks for that - great comment. Why not turn it into an answer? – numenor Feb 22 '17 at 12:14
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    "However, I am wary that this will influence their decision of whether to renew." That seems highly likely. Is your goal to be open, transparant and professional or are you financially dependent on the renewal going through and is securing the renewal the most important? – Lilienthal Feb 22 '17 at 12:47
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Short answer:

When they approach you to discuss renewal is when you approach them to discuss your vacation.

Long answer:

I would approach this issue the way I would approach "vacation dates that had been decided prior to signing a contract," that is, I would inform upon discussion of the contract.

And if you're really still afraid that it might affect the renewal process, after having brought up the dates, I would ask, "Do you think this will affect my renewal?" as modestly as possible.

Note: OP had mentioned in his comments that renewal is not automatic and would require a renewal offer from the company.

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You need to discuss this with them before negotiating for a new contract.

How flexible are we talking? Are there others in the company who enjoy similar flexible working? If it's something others do, then sure it'll be ok to ask about it as part of your contract renewal. If not, then that could get tricky. How flexible are they willing to be?

A three week period of leave is also fine for you, but it depends on their requirements so you need to bring this up with them. Are they ok with you taking that much time off? If it was that you wanted a 3 week contract break, then I could see that happening (as in you end your contract and your new one starts in 3 weeks time), but halfway through the year? That's a massive ask. Do you need 3 weeks off, or do you just like the idea of having some time to get used to your new city? I would say take one or two weeks as holiday, if you have that much allowance in your contract.

It seems like you've put yourself in a situation... You've made the decision to move cities at a crucial time and you want 3 weeks to do it plus no longer come in to work every day? If it's contract work this is worrying as it means that they can very easily just not renew... What reasons do they have to want to keep you on? If what you're asking is actually pretty normal, at least for the flexibility, then you've got a good chance to be honest. The issue I'm having is with the flexibility and 3 weeks "leave" to move to the new city. It's important to ask what they expect.

What happens if they say no, and don't renew? What happens if they agree to a renewal, but with no flexible hours and no time off? You have to be prepared for these eventualities.

  • All very good questions. – Teacher KSHuang Feb 25 '17 at 9:39
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    I don't understand as a "contactor" you don't get leave – Neuromancer Feb 26 '17 at 18:49

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