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Does anyone ever actually negotiate the terms of the contract when getting a job?

I've noticed that employment contracts seem to be increasingly long nowadays. Even small companies have quite detailed contracts which I guess they probably bought as a model/template contract from a law firm. They have all kinds of clauses which usually seem to be granting rights to the employer or placing obligations on the employee.

I'm one of the (few I guess!) people who bothers to read contracts word-for-word and this kind of thing worries me. There have been times when I've not liked a clause or wording in a contract, but I've usually been afraid to try to negotiate for fear of appearing difficult and risking either getting off on the wrong foot with a new employer or even having the offer or employment withdrawn.

I tend to hope that the more draconian stuff would not be legally enforceable, and that employment law would protect me. However, I am not a legal expert. I could be wrong!

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2 minutes ago, Cat JonJon said:

Does anyone ever actually negotiate the terms of the contract when getting a job?

I've noticed that employment contracts seem to be increasingly long nowadays. Even small companies have quite detailed contracts which I guess they probably bought as a model/template contract from a law firm. They have all kinds of clauses which usually seem to be granting rights to the employer or placing obligations on the employee.

I'm one of the (few I guess!) people who bothers to read contracts word-for-word and this kind of thing worries me. There have been times when I've not liked a clause or wording in a contract, but I've usually been afraid to try to negotiate for fear of appearing difficult and risking either getting off on the wrong foot with a new employer or even having the offer or employment withdrawn.

I tend to hope that the more draconian stuff would not be legally enforceable, and that employment law would protect me. However, I am not a legal expert. I could be wrong!

Yep it's a one-way street for the employer/agency, most stuff is never checked upon or enforced so if you keep records you can usually play chess with them if they start being awkward. I have in the past crossed a clause or two out and initialled and dated the crossing, signed the contract, scanned it, sent it back and heard nothing which shows that the agent and/or HR hasn't even bothered looking at what they got back.

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24 minutes ago, Cat JonJon said:

Does anyone ever actually negotiate the terms of the contract when getting a job?

I've noticed that employment contracts seem to be increasingly long nowadays. Even small companies have quite detailed contracts which I guess they probably bought as a model/template contract from a law firm. They have all kinds of clauses which usually seem to be granting rights to the employer or placing obligations on the employee.

I'm one of the (few I guess!) people who bothers to read contracts word-for-word and this kind of thing worries me. There have been times when I've not liked a clause or wording in a contract, but I've usually been afraid to try to negotiate for fear of appearing difficult and risking either getting off on the wrong foot with a new employer or even having the offer or employment withdrawn.

I tend to hope that the more draconian stuff would not be legally enforceable, and that employment law would protect me. However, I am not a legal expert. I could be wrong!

Yes.

I ask for TnCs and benefit package before turning up for a physical interview.

Saves a lot if time.

You can filter gormless orgs out by how stupid and onerous their TnCs are.

A job contract should specify no more than hours, pay, conditions when on site.

When they drift over to 'no e ploynent outside of org' 'anything you invent in own time is companys' terms I see all the time, then it's a No.

Edited by spygirl
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14 minutes ago, Cat JonJon said:

Does anyone ever actually negotiate the terms of the contract when getting a job?

I've noticed that employment contracts seem to be increasingly long nowadays. Even small companies have quite detailed contracts which I guess they probably bought as a model/template contract from a law firm. They have all kinds of clauses which usually seem to be granting rights to the employer or placing obligations on the employee.

I'm one of the (few I guess!) people who bothers to read contracts word-for-word and this kind of thing worries me. There have been times when I've not liked a clause or wording in a contract, but I've usually been afraid to try to negotiate for fear of appearing difficult and risking either getting off on the wrong foot with a new employer or even having the offer or employment withdrawn.

I tend to hope that the more draconian stuff would not be legally enforceable, and that employment law would protect me. However, I am not a legal expert. I could be wrong!

Its expensive to prove whether its enforcable or not.

If you are not happy, ask the interviewer if they've ever read the TnCs. You'll find few have. Or iunderstand the ramification.

'Oh we'll never hold you to that...'

Fine. Remove it from the contract.

Or ask for more money as in 20k for each condition you dont like.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

spygirl - are you talking about PAYE employment or Ltd company contracting? I guess there are differences, and probably pitfalls to watchout for in both scenarios.

I suppose it also depends on how confident you are in your value within whatever market you operate in. My skills aren't as strong as I would like at the moment (I'm working on that!) so I am a bit more humble than I might otherwise be.

Edited by Cat JonJon
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6 minutes ago, Cat JonJon said:

spygirl - are you talking about PAYE employment or Ltd company contracting? I guess there are differences, and probably pitfalls to watchout for in both scenarios.

I suppose it also depends on how confident you are in your value within whatever market you operate in. My skills aren't as strong as I would like at the moment (I'm working on that!) so I am a bit more humble than I might otherwise be.

Both.

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Contracts are an dealt with by HR, legal and upper management.

All three try to make themselves more important by being harmless arseholes.

Some contracts can serious impact your earnings/lifestyle.

I've left a company (employed) where, after questioning the exact meaning of a contract I'd signed meant the company could prevent me working weekends elsewhere.

I'm ok on restriction on who I work for when I'm employed I.e competitor. And I've no issues with the (sane) cannot use work assets for other means.

However the org was trying to curtail a weekend sideline I had. It came to head as I refused to work extra time, caused by the org being short staffed. I was not scarifying an extra income because the company had fucked up.

Basically I'd signed on for 38h, mon fri working. The company had a clause along lines of 'the company may ask for you to work more hours' I asked if I may ask for more money. If the company was going to help itself to my time I want to help myself to petty cash. Quid pro quo.

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31 minutes ago, Chewing Grass said:

Yep it's a one-way street for the employer/agency, most stuff is never checked upon or enforced so if you keep records you can usually play chess with them if they start being awkward. I have in the past crossed a clause or two out and initialled and dated the crossing, signed the contract, scanned it, sent it back and heard nothing which shows that the agent and/or HR hasn't even bothered looking at what they got back.

In the past, I've known HR fuck up and not get a  signature. The bloke was a bit difficult and as long as he was paid he was not bothered. Things came yo a head when the org was bought and they could not find the contract, so he told them, after 10 years. He refused to sign a new one. He was very essential to the org contiuing.

The other classic was being email a .dic or pdf - 'Can you print it off and sign it?'  then changing the terms, not hugely, but fiddling parameters,  add extra holidays or make redundancy payments generous.

Then HR not checking the doc and putting a signature it.

6 minutes ago, Malthus said:

Most in the UK are just a rehash of statutory rights. 
Unless you get to the top , then definitely worth checking the small print 👍

 

No they are not.

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1 hour ago, spygirl said:

Yes.

I ask for TnCs and benefit package before turning up for a physical interview.

Saves a lot if time.

You can filter gormless orgs out by how stupid and onerous their TnCs are.

A job contract should specify no more than hours, pay, conditions when on site.

When they drift over to 'no e ploynent outside of org' 'anything you invent in own time is companys' terms I see all the time, then it's a No.

I thought that you were some kind of stellar consultant to every sector known to man, as well as a few not yet discovered? 

In which case, why are you asking for package details prior to attending interview?

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13 minutes ago, Knickerless Turgid said:

I thought that you were some kind of stellar consultant to every sector known to man, as well as a few not yet discovered? 

In which case, why are you asking for package details prior to attending interview?

Now, not when I started.

Contracts involve TnC too.

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I know somebody that signed this

 

Quote

The employee hereby irrevocably appoints the Company to be his attorney and agent in his name and on his behalf to execute sign and do all and any such instruments and things and generally to use his name for the purpose of giving the Company (or its nominee) the full benefit of the provisions to this Clause and in favour of any third party a certificate in writing signed by any employee or secretary of the Company for the time being that any instrument or act falls within the authority hereby conferred shall be conclusive evidence that such is the case.

Sounds dodgy.  Think its IP related.  So if you are working on anything in your spare time they own it.

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15 minutes ago, Soft lad said:

I know somebody that signed this

 

Sounds dodgy.  Think its IP related.  So if you are working on anything in your spare time they own it.

Yes.

These are stupidly common in all things software.

I'd gladly sign that as long as the company pays me at 3x rate for the 7x24 - 38h I'm not contracted for.

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33 minutes ago, Soft lad said:

I know somebody that signed this

The employee hereby irrevocably appoints the Company to be his attorney and agent in his name and on his behalf to execute sign and do all and any such instruments and things and generally to use his name for the purpose of giving the Company (or its nominee) the full benefit of the provisions to this Clause and in favour of any third party a certificate in writing signed by any employee or secretary of the Company for the time being that any instrument or act falls within the authority hereby conferred shall be conclusive evidence that such is the case.

Sounds dodgy.  Think its IP related.  So if you are working on anything in your spare time they own it.

I don't think so (though the Clause referenced might possibly do so).

The reason for "attorney and agent" (as explained to me many years ago by a potential employer) is that if you invent something as part of your work, you grant them the right to act on your behalf with the patent/copyright office. Since the inventor's name appears on a patent record, they need him to cooperate.

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2 hours ago, Lightly Toasted said:

I don't think so (though the Clause referenced might possibly do so).

The reason for "attorney and agent" (as explained to me many years ago by a potential employer) is that if you invent something as part of your work, you grant them the right to act on your behalf with the patent/copyright office. Since the inventor's name appears on a patent record, they need him to cooperate.

Yes.

However they tend to miss out the text 'created during contracted hours, using company equipment'

I've seen contracts that state, explicitly, that  the company is entitled to any invention or product created during employment I.e. entitled to anything created out of work time.

 

 

Edited by spygirl
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Contracts are something that are only referenced when things have already got so bad that whatever is or isn't in the contract isn't likely to improve things. Your line manager relationship is far more important than the contract. They won't be referencing it every day unless they want you out...in which case it is a matter of time.

Edited by SillyBilly
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7 minutes ago, SillyBilly said:

Contracts are something that are only referenced when things have already got so bad that whatever is or isn't in the contract isn't likely to improve things. Your line manager relationship is far more important than the contract. They won't be referencing it every day unless they want you out...in which case it is a matter of time.

Nope.

I've known contracts been used as a weapon to fuck over people whove resigned.

You really need to read the TnCs.

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Just now, spygirl said:

 

I've known contracts been used as a weapon to fuck over people whove resigned.

 

How many examples, can you give 2-3 out of interest?

I am sure the t&c's were better than unemployment in any case? Or would these same people have been tens of k better off having taken a different job due to this weapon being employed? What actual cost did it have?

 

 

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Just now, SillyBilly said:

How many examples, can you give 2-3 out of interest?

I am sure the t&c's were better than unemployment in any case? Or would these same people have been tens of k better off having taken a different job due to this weapon being employed? What actual cost did it have?

 

 

Non compete clause, used to hassle an ex employee whod moved to a totally different business area. The company was trying to claim it was a 'competitor' . It wasnt, either than competing for people.

One person whod worked on a application website, all in true own time. Comoany was trying to shake down some cash, claiming it was developer on work time. It wasnt.

Other fucking around with random work days n hours, virtually split shifts, adding 2h to a day.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Non compete clause, used to hassle an ex employee whod moved to a totally different business area. The company was trying to claim it was a 'competitor' . It wasnt, either than competing for people.

One person whod worked on a application website, all in true own time. Comoany was trying to shake down some cash, claiming it was developer on work time. It wasnt.

Other fucking around with random work days n hours, virtually split shifts, adding 2h to a day.

In business to business contracts are broken all the time. They can claim whatever they like but you don't have to go along with any of it, a commercial lawyer will tell them to pay £50,000 legal fees right now as a payment on account or forget it/settle it.

Edited by Panther
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