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Topic Title: Employee notice period increase
Topic Summary: Where do we stand?
Created On: 19 July 2010 08:43 AM
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 19 July 2010 08:43 AM
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bhajee

Posts: 15
Joined: 26 April 2006

All engineers in our business unit have had their notice periods increased i.e. from 4 wks to 3mnths for junior & 3 mnths to 6 months for principal grades. We were told we just have to accept it. There is nothing (i.e. reward) offered in return. This is in a multi national company with > billion turnover & still very profitable. It is just our business unit and because they are struggling to recruit and engineers keep leaving.

We are a bit confused as to whether this is even legal? Any advise please?
 20 July 2010 08:57 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

My understanding (and as Alan says, you need a lawyer to be certain) is that you do not have to accept it - your company cannot change your T's and C's without your agreement - but that practically all you can do about it is either agree to be made redundant or leave and claim for constructive dismissal. In either case, unless your comapny has exceptionally bad legal advice, you will probably come out of it worse.

I would strongly suggest Googling "change of notice period" - there is some very good advice out there, particularly on government websites. Treat any advice from discussion forums with great care!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 20 July 2010 09:30 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

P.S. I am sure that there was a similar question asked onthese forums a few months ago - it would be worth you searching for it.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 20 July 2010 11:17 AM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Found it...

IET » General professional and technical » Typical employee notice periods

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 20 July 2010 01:26 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: g3xoi
The important word is "Legal" and that points one to "Legal Advice" wich none of us are qualified to give.

That makes sense except that Chartered Engineers have studied and passed, as part of their degree education, exams on topics such as Business & Finance, Law for Engineers, Marketing, Health & Safety, Taxation etc.

I would expect CEngs to be able to provide answers to legal or finance queries or at the very least access to material where the answers are provided.

I certainly expect a major institution like the IET to have as part of membership service, free access to legal advice. There should be lawyers representing the IET who can provide legal advice to members.

Otherwise what is the difference between a CEng having studied Law, suggesting a person seek legal advise through a Lawyer and an engineer without the education making the same suggestion?
 20 July 2010 02:14 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: mbirdi
That makes sense except that Chartered Engineers have studied and passed, as part of their degree education, exams on topics such as Business & Finance, Law for Engineers, Marketing, Health & Safety, Taxation etc.


Nope. Well, in my case we did do a bit of business studies but being typical engineering undergraduates we didn't take it terribly seriously. And if I had studied law as part of my degree, being 30 years ago it would hardly be current advice! (OK, as it happens I did study law in some depth as part of my management diploma, but it still demonstrated to me more than ever that you should not give legal advice unless you are actually qualified and experienced to do so.)

And since you don't need a degree to be CEng it's moot anyway.

I would expect CEngs to be able to provide answers to legal or finance queries or at the very least access to material where the answers are provided.

Alan did - he said ask a lawyer! If you want engineering advice ask an engineer, if you want legal advice ask a lawyer.

In fact, thinking about it, if a CEng or IEng gave legal advice (in their role as an engineering professional) without full legal training wouldn't that be professional misconduct?

As for how much the IET can/should help I look forward to further comments with interest...

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 20 July 2010 04:22 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

On the other hand, how often does an engineer need knowledge of the law? And do they all need to know the same areas of the law? And even if you take an exam in it, are you actually going to keep your knowledge up to date? Because if you're not then it's a waste of time.

Personally I'm strongly against the "everyone should be trained for everything" school of thought - in practice it means that everyone ends up slightly misinformed about a huge range of things without being able to become a specialist in anything.

My feeling is that if you are working at a professional level you should be able to demonstrate the competence to identify gaps in your knowledge, and then to decide whether it is most appropriate for the particular situation to learn the skills to fill those gaps or to use other people's skills. It's not what knowledge you have, it's how you work with knowledge.

Anyway, none of this rambling is helping answer the question...

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 22 July 2010 10:33 AM
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bhajee

Posts: 15
Joined: 26 April 2006

Crikey! I guessed I asked the question badly.

"Has anyone experience of similar and what was the outcome?" might have been a better way.

Or "What are member views of such tactics?" perhaps.

Thanks for the interesting responses though. Regarding law, I'm pretty well versed in the legislation relating to aspects of my work but employment law is not something I've had reason to engage with.
 22 July 2010 03:28 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

If they are losing engineers and struggling to recruit then actually it is not likely to make their lives any easier! There are huge numbers of engineers currently looking for jobs, so a company that cannot recruit may be better looking at whether it is an unappealing place to work rather than trying to use shackles to retain its staff (which, if you look at the other thread on this subject, don't appear to work very well).

On the other hand, the flip side of there being huge numbers of engineers currently looking for jobs is that there probably is not much you can practically do about it. In terms of offering "compensation" for the change the company may well say that you are getting increased job security - because the longer notice period works both ways.

So my instinct is that the company will probably suffer more than you will. However my experience is that, once this change is in place, you will find harder to be offered other jobs unless you can realistically convince your potential employer that you can escape from your present job in a reasonable time.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 24 July 2010 12:08 PM
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saridgway

Posts: 148
Joined: 07 May 2002

Originally posted by: bhajee


"Has anyone experience of similar and what was the outcome?"


In 1999 when I was working in a large defence company our business unit issued a similar edict. In our case the increase was from one to three months (both ways) for middle grades (higher management grades were already on three months). We were given new Ts & Cs and a deadline by which we were to sign up (no one indicated what the consequences of refusal to sign would be - I doubt whether they had thought it through).

There was much dragging of feet and some negotiation. Possibly aided by the fact that at least one person involved was in a union, the eventual result was that acceptance became optional. I chose not to sign, but, looking back, it wouldn't have made a big difference either way. The following year, a new broom came in at the top and closed the site (6 months notice was given).

Whether or not a long notice period is a problem probably depends on your line of business and job function. In the defence industry it can take 3 months or more for security clearance to come through, plus it isn't unusual to interview new graduates in early summer for autumn start dates. In any case one usually takes on permanent staff with a view to the long term, not what they can achieve within months. No doubt there are exceptions, but, in my experience, although employers can be irritating, it isn't worth losing sleep over. Keep taking the money! Good luck.

-------------------------
Steve Ridgway MIET

Edited: 25 July 2010 at 08:12 AM by saridgway
 20 August 2010 11:59 AM
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libman

Posts: 31
Joined: 17 September 2001

IET Connect offers a legal advice helpline for members:-

http://www.ietconnect.org/legal.html

Regards,

-------------------------
John Coupland
Manager of Library & Archives
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
 21 December 2010 11:28 AM
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bhajee

Posts: 15
Joined: 26 April 2006

So to add some closure to this thread, I handed in my notice and had a bit of a hoo ha with management for a few weeks as they didn't want to pay any "gardening leave" as I was going to a competitor. So they have "made" me work 7 weeks paid (rather than be escorted off site) and I finish at the end of this week. (i.e. not paid up to the 3 months). I am very much looking forward to starting with my new employer in the New Year. Merry xmas to all!
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