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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50158
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am a GP in England and has been working years.

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I am a GP in England and has been working for 8 years. I have mostly worked as a salaried GP with occasional locum, at most once a week, to supplement my income. I have worked on and off with a locum agency for several years. There is no written contract and everything is arranged adhoc. I was on recent assignment in a local surgery which I liked. I then approached owner for a job and he agreed to take me on as a partner. I have since started as a partner in the surgery.
It has come to the attention of the agency regarding this arrangement and they are asking the surgery to pay £40000 as release fee as they have represented myself for several years.
I am wondering if this is legal and reasonable amount to ask for? Also, I see myself, in loose term, a zero hour contract worker therefore how does this sound with recent legislation around zero contract workers. I was not aware of this clause in the contract with the surgery, were the surgery to pull out of my employment, I am likely to lose a lot of money as this job represent a promotion on my current work.
Can you help?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.can you tell me how long you have been at this surgery and is the surgery agreeing to this payment please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have been at the surgery for 4 weeks. The surgery would not agree to this payment.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience delays.
Many thanks for your patience. Don’t get too concerned with the potential zero hours aspect of this as it is not going to be relevant to your situation and the issue with the fees is unrelated.
As far as the law in that respect is concerned, Employment agencies have traditionally been eager to protect the revenue they get from supplying temporary workers to end user clients. They normally do so by including certain "restrictive covenants" or clauses within their contracts to either prevent a contractor from taking up direct employment with an end user, usually for the duration of the contract plus an extended period after termination, or which imposes a substantial fee if they do. The civil courts have on many occasions deliberated whether such "restrictive covenants" are fair and reasonable and there is still no single definitive answer.
Under UK and EU legislation there have been attempts to allow workers to seek employment wherever they choose, without restriction, thus removing any restraint of trade prohibitions. The most relevant piece of legislation in this respect is Regulation 10 of The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.
Where a temporary contract between an agency and an end user contains provisions to charge fees in a situation where the worker is taken on by the end user, it must now also provide the option of an "extended period of hire" where the end user client continues to pay the agency margin while engaging the worker directly (or through another agency).
Where there are provisions for the payment of a fee and/or an extended hire period, the Regulations state that they are unenforceable beyond 8 weeks from the termination of the contract (or, if longer, 14 weeks from the start of the contract).
So effectively this creates a situation where an end user client who wishes to employ a contractor directly (or transfer the contractor to another agency) will have 3 options:
1. Pay the transfer fee stipulated in the contract.
2. Pay the extended hire fee stipulated in the contract.
3. Terminate the contract (presumably with due notice) and wait for the specified 8 or 14 week period to end.
So you will have to check what the agreement between the agency and the end user was and ensure that it follows the above legal requirements. In general they can be legal though.
I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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