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Any advice appreciated: Re-Leaving Employment

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I have worked for a company for 2 years. Initially a part-time graduate intern I often worked full weeks during busy periods, but the prospect of permanent full-time employment made unpaid work seem worthwhile. After a year I was awarded a pay increase, on condition I work extra days.

 

Soon after my employer told me they couldn't afford to pay, and that I would have to accept a lower amount. They offered bonuses on completed projects – but these bonuses never materialised. I never signed a contract and at times I have worked for less than the minimum wage.

 

My skills are relied upon to the extent that several projects cannot be completed without me – unless someone else is hired or the work is outsourced. The office equipment I use is my own, purchased by me, brought from home.

 

Since requesting fair pay two managers are increasingly aggressive: they criticise my performance on completed projects, which they previously commended me for; they deny offering bonuses and dispute the amount of the pay increase; shouting and verbal abuse is common and at times I feel physically threatened.

 

There's no question of remaining in post: I want to leave. But since I don't have a contract, and payments were agreed verbally, I don't know what can be done to reclaim unpaid wages.

 

Thank you for reading. I cannot publicly respond but I appreciate any advice you can offer.

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Easy enough in Hindsight but regarding any bonuses payment of work etc make sure its written down. Im no expert but i think if there is no contract in place then you have more rights than your employer. I would firstly make sure you get all of your belongings before you leave so anything from home etc.

Then just leave. As soon as you recieve your next wage just up and leave at that point.

You cant work in that situation. Also start looking for a job immediately.

Go contracting etc. If you are good at your job make sure you take proof away with you. I am unsure of whether its design based etc but make sure you have copies of your plans/designs etc.

 

Zaff

 

Also Good Luck with whatever you do. Make the best decision for you.

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Exactly the advice I would give.

 

It sounds like they need you more than you need them right now. I'd walk out and set up as a free lance contractor. Tell them they have to pay you in advance of doing the work (at a rate that is acceptable to you but please bear in mind there will be a point where your costs might make it too expensive for them and they look elsewhere).

 

I hope it works out.

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I've read it quickly and would advise you to leave but on good terms. You need a reference and any problems that could arise you need to deal with them professionally.

 

All the best:)

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I'd start recording any conversations with a discrete / hidden device (available on the internet) as well ....

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I'd start recording any conversations with a discrete / hidden device (available on the internet) as well ....

 

You can't publish the content anywhere though.........or use it in court as they aren't aware that they are being recorded.

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i doubt you will be able to reclaim any unpaid wages without going to court or tribunal, a threat to do so might produce an offer in full or in part but then again they may decide to fight and even if you get an award they are likely to drag their feet paying you. If you want to explore that route then you should talk to a real employment solicitor as soon as possible.

 

personally, i wouldn't offer to work on a freelance basis. your relationship with your management is damaged as it is and this is unlikely to improve it and they will find all sorts of ways to screw you over in regard to your fees. it would be far better for you to make a clean break.

 

unless you have agreed or received something to the contrary then your notice period is the statutory minimum which i believe is 1 week. so find another job, tell them your off and go, though i'd make sure you were paid first.

 

---------- Post added 19-10-2015 at 21:59 ----------

 

the other thing about going from an employee to freelance with the same firm is that it would look to hmrc like you and/or your employer are trying to avoid ni, which tends to upset them.

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I'd start recording any conversations with a discrete / hidden device (available on the internet) as well ....

 

You can't publish the content anywhere though.........or use it in court as they aren't aware that they are being recorded.

 

I once went to an internal tribunal (held at the place I worked) and tape recorded the entire proceedings. I told my solicitor about doing it at the time, and he said, I should have informed them I was taping (it was back in the day, with a mini tape recorder).

 

However, although it was inadmissible (technically) as evidence, he said it 'could' be used, if the minutes of the meeting didn't accurately reflect what was said on tape. In that case it could be used as evidence the minutes were inaccurate.

 

I'm no lawyer, but that's what I was told.

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Exactly the advice I would give.

 

It sounds like they need you more than you need them right now. I'd walk out and set up as a free lance contractor. Tell them they have to pay you in advance of doing the work (at a rate that is acceptable to you but please bear in mind there will be a point where your costs might make it too expensive for them and they look elsewhere).

 

I hope it works out.

 

It would be highly unusual to find anywhere willing to pay in advance.

Typically I'm paid at least 1 week in arrears, sometimes only monthly, and when contracting directly without an agency, if I invoice monthly with 30 day terms it's effectively 2 months in arrears before I'm paid.

 

If you meant work for the same place, I'd suggest not. The OP wants to get out ASAP, staying in a different capacity won't work.

 

I guess the trick for the OP is to walk out ASAP, whilst minimising their own losses, ie getting the maximum pay they can from what they are owed. Court proceedings for the rest are an option, maybe worth it dependent on what amount we're talking about and whether the company could actually pay or not.

Edited by Cyclone

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I once went to an internal tribunal (held at the place I worked) and tape recorded the entire proceedings. I told my solicitor about doing it at the time, and he said, I should have informed them I was taping (it was back in the day, with a mini tape recorder).

 

However, although it was inadmissible (technically) as evidence, he said it 'could' be used, if the minutes of the meeting didn't accurately reflect what was said on tape. In that case it could be used as evidence the minutes were inaccurate.

 

I'm no lawyer, but that's what I was told.

 

I stand corrected.

 

Thanks for you information.

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I have worked for a company for 2 years. Initially a part-time graduate intern I often worked full weeks during busy periods, but the prospect of permanent full-time employment made unpaid work seem worthwhile. After a year I was awarded a pay increase, on condition I work extra days.

 

Soon after my employer told me they couldn't afford to pay, and that I would have to accept a lower amount. They offered bonuses on completed projects – but these bonuses never materialised. I never signed a contract and at times I have worked for less than the minimum wage.

 

My skills are relied upon to the extent that several projects cannot be completed without me – unless someone else is hired or the work is outsourced. The office equipment I use is my own, purchased by me, brought from home.

 

Since requesting fair pay two managers are increasingly aggressive: they criticise my performance on completed projects, which they previously commended me for; they deny offering bonuses and dispute the amount of the pay increase; shouting and verbal abuse is common and at times I feel physically threatened.

 

There's no question of remaining in post: I want to leave. But since I don't have a contract, and payments were agreed verbally, I don't know what can be done to reclaim unpaid wages.

 

Thank you for reading. I cannot publicly respond but I appreciate any advice you can offer.

 

I think the first thing to determine whether you were a "worker", "employee" or self-employed contractor. Easiest way around this - how were you paid (when you were!), how was the tax accounted for; were you given a payslip etc. Did you have to be there for a start time, for example, or were you allowed to choose freely when you could work and the hours you could work?

 

The fact that you were not given a contract gives you certain rights, especially if you have been there two years. Go wearily about resigning without covering everything off first.

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Just because there is no written contract doesn't mean there is necessarily no contract at all. If you agree to work for someone in exchange for payment, then there is a contract.

 

However, whether there is a contract or not might ultimately have to be decided by the courts - and that route is not cheap nor likely to lead to much in the way of compensation even if you win.

 

If they have made your working life intolerable, but won't formally dismiss you, there is always the last ditch option of resigning and claiming to have been constructively dismissed - if you win that then that could lead to a redundancy payment, and you could also then pursue a unfair dismissal claim. But again, you might not win, and taking the case to tribunal is not free, and you won't get much even if you win.

 

Start here: http://www.xperthr.co.uk/blogs/employment-intelligence/2013/04/employment-law-myth-2-theres-n/

 

I'm not sure whether you'd count as having served 2 years - given your first year seems to have been unpaid. You need a proper legal opinion on this.

 

Legally there is a deadline for claiming unpaid wages.

https://worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/pay-and-contracts/pay/our-employer-has-not-paid-us-any-money-week-what-can-we-do

 

It's possible your employer is breaking the law in several places (paying less than minimum wage, deduction of wages, not providing statement of terms and conditions). You probably ought to get proper advice and meet with them to discuss your future. See if they will pay you off under a settlement agreement.

 

You might be able to get advice from ACAS.

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