Change of contracts but I want to quit, can I not sign and be made redundant?

Hi folks!

I've been working for a company full time for 4 years now, but I want to quit and go freelance for a while. As it happens, since the company was acquired a year ago we're going through a change of contracts for everyone in the acquired bit. I heard that if I simply don't sign the new contract, I'll have to be made redundant. 

Is this true generally in English employment law, or is this something specific for different companies? I don't think there's anything specific in my former contract about what happens when it ends. If I can choose not to sign and be made redundant, do I need grounds to not sign it, or to show an attempt to negotiate terms, or anything like that? Or can I just 'not do it'?

Let me know if the answer to all of this is "it totally depends on your company / contracts". I'm also happy to talk to an employment solicitor but just feeling out knowledge here first.


Thanks!
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Replies

  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
  • Alter_egoAlter_ego Forumite
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    JamoLew said:
    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
    3rd option, wait and see what happens
    I am not a cat (But my friend is)
  • toucangarootoucangaroo Forumite
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    Thanks - not sure where the line is drawn between "the role exists" vs "the role doesn't exist". I'm the only one with my title in my company, but the new contract will be for the same title. 
  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    Alter_ego said:
    JamoLew said:
    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
    3rd option, wait and see what happens
    Yes - but as soon as the OP gets paid and accepts the money - that will be deemed to have accepted the contract (unless they express in writing beforehand that they are accepting under protest). But this still means they have limited choices.

  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    JamoLew said:
    Alter_ego said:
    JamoLew said:
    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
    3rd option, wait and see what happens
    Yes - but as soon as the OP gets paid and accepts the money - that will be deemed to have accepted the contract (unless they express in writing beforehand that they are accepting under protest). But this still means they have limited choices.

    Surely that would (might?) only apply if the new contract also involved a different salary?   If not then the OP could legitimately claim they were still working under the terms of the old contract and there would be no paperwork to contradict that position.  Indeed, the only paperwork, ie the existing contract, would SUPPORT that position . . . so, using your argument, it would be the COMPANY that accepted the old contract terms.

    Mrs Mickey worked for many years on the terms of an old contract after her employer's company was taken over.  Her old contract had better holiday provision so she declined to agree to the new contract.  This meant she was not eligible for the new company bonus scheme.  She still continued to get pay rises and her additional holidays, which turned out to be the right decision as the company somehow never managed to meet its bonus-triggering financials so no one on the new contract received a bonus anyway.

    My point is that refusing to sign a new contract does not automatically mean redundancy.  It will depend on what the company decides to do.
  • edited 24 April 2021 at 1:19PM
    UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    edited 24 April 2021 at 1:19PM
    Hi folks!

    I've been working for a company full time for 4 years now, but I want to quit and go freelance for a while. As it happens, since the company was acquired a year ago we're going through a change of contracts for everyone in the acquired bit. I heard that if I simply don't sign the new contract, I'll have to be made redundant. 

    Is this true generally in English employment law, or is this something specific for different companies? I don't think there's anything specific in my former contract about what happens when it ends. If I can choose not to sign and be made redundant, do I need grounds to not sign it, or to show an attempt to negotiate terms, or anything like that? Or can I just 'not do it'?

    Let me know if the answer to all of this is "it totally depends on your company / contracts". I'm also happy to talk to an employment solicitor but just feeling out knowledge here first.


    Thanks!
    I am afraid you have heard wrong!

    If you simply don't sign the contract but carry on working you will be deemed to have accepted it. Very few contracts in English law have to be signed (or even in writing) to be valid. Obviously it is easier to prove what has been agreed if they are but working and getting paid is more than enough to establish a contract.

    So, if you are not happy to accept you need to positively reject the new contract and make it clear that you are working under protest.

    There is no right to be made redundant, in fact your employer has a duty not to make you redundant if there is an acceptable alternative. As has been said above it is a post (not a person) that becomes redundant.

    If you and the employer cannot agree on the new terms they can simply impose them. You only options then are to either accept or to resign and claim unfair dismissal (note - is is not constructive dismissal under these circumstances despite your resignation). A tribunal would then decide if the new terms are reasonable or not. If you win you would get some compensation but they cannot order the employer to reinstate you on the old terms.

    (Well, actually they can order reinstatement but it is next to meaningless! If the employer refuses to reinstate you would get a little extra compensation but that is all, the tribunal can't force it to happen).
  • edited 24 April 2021 at 2:36PM
    JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    edited 24 April 2021 at 2:36PM
    Mickey666 said:
    JamoLew said:
    Alter_ego said:
    JamoLew said:
    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
    3rd option, wait and see what happens
    Yes - but as soon as the OP gets paid and accepts the money - that will be deemed to have accepted the contract (unless they express in writing beforehand that they are accepting under protest). But this still means they have limited choices.

    Surely that would (might?) only apply if the new contract also involved a different salary?   If not then the OP could legitimately claim they were still working under the terms of the old contract and there would be no paperwork to contradict that position.  Indeed, the only paperwork, ie the existing contract, would SUPPORT that position . . . so, using your argument, it would be the COMPANY that accepted the old contract terms.

    Mrs Mickey worked for many years on the terms of an old contract after her employer's company was taken over.  Her old contract had better holiday provision so she declined to agree to the new contract.  This meant she was not eligible for the new company bonus scheme.  She still continued to get pay rises and her additional holidays, which turned out to be the right decision as the company somehow never managed to meet its bonus-triggering financials so no one on the new contract received a bonus anyway.

    My point is that refusing to sign a new contract does not automatically mean redundancy.  It will depend on what the company decides to do.
    Not true - contracts change all the time and you aren't expected/don't sign them.

    The employer just has to record an amendment to contract - happens all the time

    Ours recently has changed with regard to working Bank Holidays and we haven't been asked to sign anything

    Unless you state you do not accept the change and are working "under protest" and also raise a grievance with regards to the change (or similar) then if you turn up to work, do work, get paid, accept the pay -- you HAVE accepted the new contract


  • UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    Mickey666 said:
    JamoLew said:
    Alter_ego said:
    JamoLew said:
    Roles get made redundant not people.

    If the role still exists but under new contract you have 2 options:

    1) accept it
    2) resign
    3rd option, wait and see what happens
    Yes - but as soon as the OP gets paid and accepts the money - that will be deemed to have accepted the contract (unless they express in writing beforehand that they are accepting under protest). But this still means they have limited choices.

    Surely that would (might?) only apply if the new contract also involved a different salary?   If not then the OP could legitimately claim they were still working under the terms of the old contract and there would be no paperwork to contradict that position.  Indeed, the only paperwork, ie the existing contract, would SUPPORT that position . . . so, using your argument, it would be the COMPANY that accepted the old contract terms.

    Mrs Mickey worked for many years on the terms of an old contract after her employer's company was taken over.  Her old contract had better holiday provision so she declined to agree to the new contract.  This meant she was not eligible for the new company bonus scheme.  She still continued to get pay rises and her additional holidays, which turned out to be the right decision as the company somehow never managed to meet its bonus-triggering financials so no one on the new contract received a bonus anyway.

    My point is that refusing to sign a new contract does not automatically mean redundancy.  It will depend on what the company decides to do.
    As I pointed out in my previous post (maybe crossed with yours) there doesn't have to be any paperwork. Obviously it easier to prove what was said / agreed if there is but there is no legal requirement for it to be in writing to be valid.

    Regarding you last point, rejecting a new contract does not automatically mean redundancy but simply not signing it and continuing to work indicates acceptance.
  • ThrugelmirThrugelmir Forumite
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    No need to sign. Acceptance is merely taken as given if you turn up to work and get paid. In being given a new contract the terms cannot be detrimental. The contract should bring the TUPE'd staffed in line with existing employees. 
  • General_GrantGeneral_Grant Forumite
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    No need to sign. Acceptance is merely taken as given if you turn up to work and get paid. In being given a new contract the terms cannot be detrimental. The contract should bring the TUPE'd staffed in line with existing employees. 
    Is that true, particularly given that it is a year since the employee moved?
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