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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default Can my employer make me sign a new contract?

    Hi there, my workplace is changing their policy and they now want all employees to sign a new contract. The main change on the contract is that the employer can deduct payments from the employee's wage for mistakes that cost the company money. I was told that I would have to sign the contract if I wanted to keep my job. We have tried to negotiate other options but they are not flexible at all. My question is: can they make me sign a new contract if I don't agree with it? And what can happen if I don't sign the contract ? Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Short answer No, an employer can not terminate your current employment contract and force you to sign a new employment contract just because they feel like it.

    Sometimes an employer may wish to do this, for example where a company has been acquired by another company and they want to harmonise employment conditions, but it requires negotiation and ultimately your agreement.

    Also, there are very few circumstances where an employer can unilaterally make deductions from an employees wages and it sounds like what they are wanting to do may be illegal.

    I would suggest calling the Fair Work Ombudsman and get their opinion after explaining what's happening. You can probably do this anonymously if you wish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks you for your reply Moz.

    My employer wants me to sign the contract just to make it legal and then there is nothing I can other than pay.

    I will check with Fair Work Ombudsman

    Thanks Again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    192

    Default

    Employment contracts, like a lot of things are living documents ie things can change so eg where employees have been with a company many years, there may well be legal changes the employer wants to incorporate or in some cases some long serving employees simply never had an employment contract when they were originally employed. It is common for new contracts to be issued in such examples but wording would make it clear that continuity of service was intact and confirm current pay rate.

    As to payroll deductions. A few seemed to have missed the Fair Work changes in 2014 whereby an employer can no longer deduct monies from employee's pay where "it disadvantages the employee". Where there are payroll errors (and believe me there isn't a payroll company or payroll specialist who doesn't make the odd mistake - not to mention the odd computer glitch!), then fixing it needs to be in consultation with the employee who has been overpaid and the over payment rectified asap, much as any underpayment would be fixed quickly.
    Tiger
    So if your employ is truly re-issuing contract for reason you state and nothing else, I recommend you don't sign it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thank you Tiger for your advice.

    My employer is saying that the main reason why they're renewing the contracts is to update the work titles (a few months ago some people became team leaders and managers) and some of the company policies including the " deduction from the employee wage for mistakes made". Of course they would not acknowledge that the new contracts are just for their own benefit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    192

    Default

    One more thing. It is perfectly normal and, quite frankly, good business practice, to issue amendments to employment contracts where the job changes eg in cases of promotions etc. This would generally not be a whole new contract rather an amendment to the relevant clauses - job title, reporting to, perhaps the location and pay rate. All other clauses would remain as per original contract and that statement would be included in such an amendment.
    Further, company policies are living documents and change - some more frequently than others but generally there is no need to issue a brand new employment contract for that if a generic clause relating to company policies both current and new, was included in the original employment contract.
    Tiger

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