Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did the contract stipulate any amount of work that you can expect from them or did it guarantee any work for you?
Hi Ben sorry I wasn't notified that I had any response from you. Originally our engagement commenced with a 20 day contract but then they decided they wanted to continue the engagement, so we moved to a rolling contract where I committed to giving them my services full time. Does that answer your question?
Hi, no problem, thanks for getting back to me. As someone who is self employed your rights are more or less limited to what was in your contract and in terms of the notice period it appears you had a month’s notice of termination. The employer has tried to interpret that to mean that you were not guaranteed any work at any time during the relationship, whereas you would argue that you should be allowed to undertake a month’s work before the contract comes to an end.
The first point of reference would be the contract and you would need to check whether there was anything in there that specified whether you had any contracted hours of work or guarantees to a minimum number of hours of work. In the absence of anything specific in the contract it could still be possible to argue that the ‘usual’ hours you had worked have become implied in the contract as something that was viewed as a ‘guarantee’. So if you had worked there full time for 3.5 years and the hours were largely consistent, there is an argument that they were an implied contractual term and that when the employer gave you the notice you should have been allowed to work there for the month’s notice and been allowed to undertake your ‘usual’ hours.
The issue with this is that it is all down to interpretation and only a court can decide whether that is the case or not. You and the employer can have a differing opinion over this and in the event that a resolution cannot be reached, the only way to argue this would be to take it to court and hope that they agree that there was a consistent approach which has given you the right to claim there was an implied contractual right to the hours you wish to claim for now.
Hope this clarifies matters for you?
Yes so there is nothing specific in my contract about the amount of hours I'm guaranteed and yes they are trying to argue that I was not guaranteed specific hours. However, I did work full time hours for them throughout the engagement, I was on their holiday calendar and had to request leave for holiday/sickness or doctors appointments so I feel strongly that I could prove this to be the case. By implied contractual term what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that if I can prove that by hours were consistent that I should in fact be entitled to a month's working notice or payment in lieu of this?
Implied contractual terms are terms that are not written down anywhere, but which are nevertheless included in the official contract between parties because they have been consistently applied over time and together with the intention of the parties have become implied in the contract. Usually this is done through 'custom and practice' where a defined custom or consistent practice means that the terms in question become contractually implied
Great thanks. This helps.
You are most welcome