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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49843
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am currently working as a self-employed contractor for an

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I am currently working as a self-employed contractor for an international company (terms based on UK law) in Egypt.
The terms are on a rotation system of 8 weeks on / 4 weeks off.
I (along with work colleagues) have recently been put on enforced/unpaid leave due to circumstances beyond our control which is unrelated to the rotation criteria (various international organisations and government ministerial departments unable to decide on work standards and procedures).
Question: Am I entitled to compensation for the unscheduled / unspecified / unpaid period e.g. full pay or retainer fee as the employer wants me/us to return to the contract when it suits?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

How long have you been doing this work for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Only since 5th July, but is due to continue indefinately

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. When you are working to under a self employment contract your rights are very much determined by what is in there. As a starting point you are employed to work on a specific rotational pattern and in effect this is a contractually binding arrangement. You may therefore expect the employer to adhere to that and honour it, including paying you for it. Of course, it is possible that they could change that arrangement, be it changing the rota itself or not giving you any work at all, bit to be able to do that, and especially to be able to not pay you, there must be a specific contractual clause allowing for that. If you are guaranteed work under the contract and there is no provision allowing the employer to alter or reduce your hours of work, then doing so could amount to a breach of contract. That could in turn enable you to consider a claim for breach of contract, which would allow you to seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result of that breach. Of course you should try and negotiate that with the employer to start with but if this fails and they do go ahead and change your working arrangement in breach of contract, you can consider taking this further.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you decide to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.