View Full Version : Legallity of contract change

2nd March 2004, 13:41
I have just been presented with changes to my existing contract. The agent claims that if I don't sign off the changes within 4 weeks, they will come into effect anyway. This is direct contrast to my contract which states that only changes agreed and signed by both parties may be made to the contract. Anyone have any thoughts on the legality of this claim?

2nd March 2004, 17:24
There is none.

As you say, you have to agree to the changes.

Not entirely sure where you go to next though. If you reject the changes you may find yourself on the wrong end of 4 weeks notice, but if you do nothing the agency might just implement the changes and leave you to sue.

What is the actual nature of the changes, do they result in a monetary difference or just a change of 'obligations' (that probably isn't the right word!)


2nd March 2004, 18:36
Don't want to give too much away as I don't want to identify any parties. One change is basically removal of notice period from my side, forced to work the whole contract. Other states that first hour OT is nil-paid. What I hate the most is the threat that if I don't respond to the "demands" they will become automatic. I really hate threats.>:

Anyway, no skin of my nose as I am considering retiring anyhow, so let them do their worst! :D

2nd March 2004, 20:47
Agent claims that the client has "researched" the market and considers these clauses "standard practice". Don't want to be around when the "standard practice" reaches its next new low. I came into contracting for the flexibility and now have none.

Contract runs out in a few months so I'll just ride it out to the end milking for all its worth. To add a little extra kick I will string client along for as long as possible about renewal and then dump on him when the time comes.

Sure hate leaving the industry I have worked in for 11 years with such a sour taste in my mouth. :|

Mark Snowdon
3rd March 2004, 08:28
Are they really changes coming from the client or just garbage from the agent ?

If you are nearing the end, I would just refuse to accept them and then sue for the notice period.

Or as you say, dump them - they deserve it.

Oh and name the agent....

3rd March 2004, 08:29
Let me find out who it is first. I know a few other contractors who work for the client and will x-ref with them first (and my client sponsor, which I was told NOT to do by my agent!!!!)

If it is the agent I will name them. And they are BIG.

3rd March 2004, 10:39

1) As Mark says you have to find out if this move is client lead or a whim of the agency. Personally I would immediately ask the client representative and any suggestion from the agency that you should not, is stupid, the client has something to lose here (below) and the agent is a fool if he is shafting the client.

2) The notice period, whilst very significant in principle is a minor problem in reality. Whether this is a client change or an agency change, you can safely reject it. You only have a few months to go, don't seem inclined to want to jump ship, and the idea that a company will invoke a notice period to get rid of somebody because they won't accept a contract with no notice period is peverse in the extreme, and if they do unilaterally (but unenforcably) impose it, you lose nothing.

3) The OT thing is obviously more important. For me the solution is simple: if the rule really is that the first hour is to be unpaid then I simply would not do the first hour (and therefore, not do all subsequent hours), though I appreciate that some people rely on the OT income. This is where the client loses if they actually need the OT worked. I wouldn't be swayed by the line "the project needs you to work the hours", if this really is the case then "the project can pay me for all hours that I work", a free choice for the client to choose between, leave him to make it.

Don't shaft the client here, if a renewall is available, accept it (or not) on the basis of the negotiated terms, using this experience to guide you as to how hard you should negotiate. My guess is that this is the agent TTP and it's in your interest for the client to know this.


3rd March 2004, 11:01
Thanks, Tim. Plenty of food for thought.

After speaking to a few other contractors who use different agencies, I suspect that it is indeed the client. My sponsor knows nothing about it but that is not unusual as HR dictates with little feedback. He has said that as far as I am concerned, its business as usual but I won't really know that until its possibly too late. Its more the direction of the changes that I find irritating. What's next, Saturdays are mandatory? First hour of standard day is nil-paid? Should have seen this coming when for the first time last year it became policy not to pay for long term contractors to come to the Xmas party (but my sponsor chipped in.)

This is the problem. My sponsor has been good to me, but he is losing control of the contract from his end.

I won't name the agency as it appears that it is not their doing. They have been fair to me in the past and appear to be innocent in this case. As far as the client goes, let's just say if I were signing a new contract with a large American investment bank, I would look at the wording VERY carefully.

3rd March 2004, 12:07
One change is basically removal of notice period from my side, forced to work the whole contract. Other states that first hour OT is nil-paid.
If you don't sign, then the first change can have no effect and your original notice period will stand.

For the second point, you could either refuse to do overtime, or book an extra hour each time.

3rd March 2004, 12:16
Problem being if I don't sign, they will "assume" I have agreed to it. Probably end in court which is expensive and I don't like.

As far as OT goes, everyone else is saying the same thing. No pay, no OT. If they let us go, so be it as the working conditions have become poor.

I expect the agent to TTP but when the client starts doing it, I get annoyed.

3rd March 2004, 19:05
Find another contract! (quietly) - your only bargaining chip is leaving.

Write to the agent formally setting out your objections and refusing the changes, cost in what the extra 1 hr overtime & zero notice is worth and ask for a higher rate as a fee for acceptance.

The new contract can't come into force over your objections, they can however give you notice. Advise the client that they are trying to change an already negotiated contract, you have made a reasonable offer, if they don't like it then you are off.

You could try the Terms & Conditions on the back of the invoice trick as well!

Pretty much what Capita / Accenture would do so its got to be professional! :D

3rd March 2004, 20:15
I have thought about compensation. Problem is my sponsor's budget pays for HRs mistakes. I don't do that much OT that it is a huge financial burden. I won't be doing any now. I may look for another contract and ask for more money at the same time. If neither comes through, I shall just go into early retirement a little earlier than I thought.