This article, about how an agency wants to backdate changes, was posted to our agency Affairs Forum by Jam.
I’ve been with my current client since April this year. It was an initial 4 month contract, and now a renewal. I’ve worked for this client as an IT contractor on two occasions in the past. Both times it was initially on a 3 month contract which stretched to over a year in each case.
Last week, I received a letter from my agent with a contract in it. At first, I thought this was another renewal. However, he usually calls me before he sends it to tell me the good news.
Backdate Changes of Conditions
Upon reading the letter, it stated that they had changed the client’s terms and conditions with the agency. The agency were issuing a new contract to me to take this into account.
It said this was to replace my existing IT contract, backdated to last August.
Now, I didn’t think they could do this! If they wanted to change the next contract, then OK, that’s a better time at which to commence negotiations. Does anyone have any idea what my rights are regarding this?
Not on Company PSL
As a side note, I got an email from the client’s HR department in June, saying that I have to sign a Letter of Agreement. That’s because my agency wasn’t on their Preferred Suppliers List.
The terms of this letter went way beyond the terms in my IT contract. Some of those were pretty restrictive, IMO.
I discussed this with my IT agent. He told me to ignore it for as long as I could get away with it! I now find that these terms have found their way into my revised contract.
Thanks in advance.
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery
In terms of signing this other contract it is pretty clear that you don’t have to. That’s because you have a contract for the existing period and you worked under that.
You don’t say what the extra conditions are on the IT contract. So it is difficult to work out why they were put there.
My first thought was that the IT agency were trying to make you opt out of the EU Agency Workers Directive. They may be backdating it so you couldn’t go to the client direct at the end of your current contract.
However, my best guess would be that this isn’t the case here – especially as there is a PSL.
My best guess would be that the extra conditions are ones wanted by the client. They could include ownership of the code and intellectual property rights. There could maybe be some kind of restriction on who you could work for in future, e.g. their rival companies.
Without knowing what the new conditions are it is difficult to say.
As I said, you have no need to sign this new contract.
However, I imagine that you would like to be renewed again by this company. So that allows them to put pressure on you.
I would be tempted to sign it “at the next renewal”. After all, they can’t really track what you are doing after you have left the company. Also, the clauses may be a restraint of trade on you and not legally enforeable anyway.
However, if it is just a case of them deciding that they are not going to renew you and trying to get you to sign a new contract under duress then I would tell them that you are not going to sign it as you had a contract with them already.
Legally they know the score and can do nothing else about it. Don’t let them backdate changes to your contract.
However, if they do want to keep you on then, unless it is overly restrictive, I can’t see any harm in doing it.