New starter - Covid-19 impact on employment

ST

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20 Jan 2013
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222
Hi there,
I am concerned and looking for some advice if possible please? I am due to start with Northern Trains in May in a Trainee Driver role...I am in secure employment which will be relatively unaffected by the Coronovirus, however, if I join as a Trainee Driver and things don't go to plan, I will be subject to an immediate notice of termination of my employment with Northern as per my T&Cs. HR at Northern have not arrived at a decision yet about whether the course is running or not, but understandably I don't want to put my notice in with work if I may then be faced with redundancy....am I over thinking this or should I be genuinely concerned about joining Northern at this stage? I will appreciate any thoughts and happy for you to PM if preferred. Thanks.
 
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43066

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Hi there,
I am concerned and looking for some advice if possible please? I am due to start with Northern Trains in May in a Trainee Driver role...I am in secure employment which will be relatively unaffected by the Coronovirus, however, if I join as a Trainee Driver and things don't go to plan, I will be subject to an immediate notice of termination of my employment with Northern as per my T&Cs. HR at Northern have not arrived at a decision yet about whether the course is running or not, but understandably I don't want to put my notice in with work if I may then be faced with redundancy....am I over thinking this or should I be genuinely concerned about joining Northern at this stage? I will appreciate any thoughts and happy for you to PM if preferred. Thanks.
That’s a very tricky one.

I don’t suppose anyone (including Northern) is in much of a position to advise at this stage as clearly the situation is developing rapidly.

That said, even in the countries with much more stringent restrictions than the U.K., it only seems to be large public gatherings which are being limited. A typical class of trainee drivers (eight max where I trained) is unlikely to be affected. That said if their training school ends up suffering widespread staff sickness/self isolation that might well cause an issue.

One approach might be having an honest conversation about the situation with your current employer (but without formally handing in your notice). If your skills are in demand, or they’re short staffed, they may be only too happy to keep you on for as long as possible if your start date ends up being delayed.

Obviously whether you can have that conversation is a judgement call only you can make, taking into account your relationship with your line manager, etc.

EDIT: if the worst comes to the worst, and Northern are unable to confirm until after the last date by which you need to hand your notice in, I’d personally err on the side of caution and avoid resigning until they do so.

But, whatever happens, if the course goes ahead as planned, make sure you join on the start date. If you miss it (even by a few days) you’ll have missed too much to continue with that group. And you might not get another chance!

It’d be better to give your current employer less notice than contractually required, than to fail to start the course, or to risk unemployment by resigning before Northern can confirm.

It might put their noses out of joint, but you’re leaving anyway, and you need to put yourself first. At the end of the day all they can practically do is withhold your pay for the unworked portion of your notice period, and by then you’ll be being paid by Northern anyway.
 
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ST

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222
Thanks 43066. Really appreciate you taking the time to provide such a detailed response, I definitely do not want to miss out on the amazing opportunity. I am hoping there is going to be some further news as soon as possible so I can move forward with the Trainer Driver role!
 

richfoz84

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13 Oct 2018
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It’s the unknown I think right now, major developments daily so it’s hard to say what will happen next week let alone in 2 Months. Do what you feel is right.. I’ll be telling my boss before I put my 1 Months notice in, just cos he’s a sound guy and I don’t wanna leave him in the lurch..
But in reflection to this comment, not everyone will be able to do this!
I’m hoping for a start date in July for Northern
 

TreacleMiller

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If you have the role from Northern in the bag I would simply not work my notice period, if it meant securing my employment.

Put yourself first, especially if those bridges with your old employer are not worth keeping.
 

Class385

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I was due to begin my driver training today but its been put back a few weeks but could end up being months. Bit of a downer but can't really do anything about it.
 

tmmchale

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30 Nov 2015
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I was due to begin my driver training today but its been put back a few weeks but could end up being months. Bit of a downer but can't really do anything about it.
What do you do in the meantime? I’m guessing your notice for previous job was handed in a while ago? If you’ve signed and sent the contract with a start date agreed will you still be getting paid even though the training has been moved? I’ve been given a provisional start date but can see this being moved now. Obviously I don’t want to go handing my notice in then being out of work unpaid until a course date is rescheduled. Tricky times!
 

Jadey

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I was due to begin my driver training today but its been put back a few weeks but could end up being months. Bit of a downer but can't really do anything about it.
Have you left your current job or has your contract started with your Train Operating Company?
 

9tfrizzco

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You really think they would terminate your contract instead of just delaying your training? Man I'm due to start soon as a signaller and this has me worried
 

Class385

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It's with the same company, already signed a new contract so just continuing with my previous role until this all calms down.
 
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C J Snarzell

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11 Apr 2019
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I overheard a whisper in my workplace that someone has had an interview cancelled for a TOC job they applied for with no update of when it will be rescheduled for. It may have something to do with the Coronavirus as I'm sure HR's will start to review everything that's going on.
 

WrongRoad

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3 Nov 2017
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At the moment it’s really all guess work what may happen. Reading the Pilots forum (PPRUNE) British Airways have cancelled coming training courses and have put the new starters back into a hold pool without pay even with contracts signed. These people have already left their previous Pilot job. Admittedly the aviation industry is in a far worse situation than rail but these are very uncertain times for all companies.
 
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C J Snarzell

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I actually know of someone who has had to rescind a resignation for their current role as the 'new' job has been put on hold because of everything that is going on.

I know a girl who works in the travel industry & she lost her job with Thomas Cook last year but managed to secure employment with Hays Travel who took over some of the TC branches. Unfortunately, yet again she is having to relive the nightmare of potential unemployment again - both Hays & TUI in my town are deserted with customers which is understandable in the present climate.

I would be very surprised if HR's don't 'freeze' certain roles shortly that people have applied for. As my current job is on a fixed term contract until June I'm starting to review my options of employment once my contract expires but the current situation may mean I'm going to be in a very tight situation in 12 weeks time if the UK problems continue.

CJ
 

LCC106

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If you have a written starting date whether in contract of employment or email from HR the company will have to honour it even if delaying start of training. If you’ve already handed in notice with no start date (not sure why you would) have a talk with your boss to see if they’ll let you keep working on a week by week basis until start date is confirmed.
 

LCC106

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ST when you say if things don’t go to plan do you mean if your start date is changed by Northern? Not sure why they’d terminate your employment unless you fail exams etc. Doubt it would be redundancy as you can’t make a person redundant, only a role. As they will always need drivers I don’t believe redundancy can apply here.
 

bouff34

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If you have a written starting date whether in contract of employment or email from HR the company will have to honour it even if delaying start of training. If you’ve already handed in notice with no start date (not sure why you would) have a talk with your boss to see if they’ll let you keep working on a week by week basis until start date is confirmed.
I agree that they have to honour the contract so you would start work...but most contracts allow for a very short notice period when you initially start.

You could find yourself being given notice of termination on the first day....

e.g. just looked at my NWR contract and if you have less than one month's employment there is no notice period to terminate your employment. So worst case scenario they could pay you for the first day of work and that would be it...
 

43066

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I actually know of someone who has had to rescind a resignation for their current role as the 'new' job has been put on hold because of everything that is going on.
The problem with that, of course, is you can’t rescind unilaterally. The employer has to agree and would be entirely within their rights to refuse, if it suited them.

It sounds like your friend has been very lucky in this climate.
 

43066

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ST when you say if things don’t go to plan do you mean if your start date is changed by Northern? Not sure why they’d terminate your employment unless you fail exams etc. Doubt it would be redundancy as you can’t make a person redundant, only a role. As they will always need drivers I don’t believe redundancy can apply here.
There’s no entitlement to redundancy until two years’ service have elapsed, anyway. You’d only be entitled to contractual notice which would likely be a week’s pay for a new starter.
 

ST

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Thanks all for the responses so far. The concern for me is what is echoed above ie. I start and a day after I am given my notice....my contract allows for no notice to be given to terminate my employment. Would it not be last in first out or would the unions fight for this??
 

Mat17

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I start a day after I am given my notice....my contract allows for no notice to be given to terminate my employment. Would it not be last in first out or would the unions fight for this??
I suspect I'm about to be in the same position. I'm currently awaiting a start date and contract, hoping they arrive in time for me to resign and be able to serve my full notice period. I don't want to burn bridges with my current employer either as my boss said he'd consider me for future roles should I change my mind and the railways not work out. I also rely on my current employer for references too both for this job but also for alternative jobs if this all falls through and I find myself unemployed. So I find myself in a quandary.
 

C J Snarzell

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The problem with that, of course, is you can’t rescind unilaterally. The employer has to agree and would be entirely within their rights to refuse, if it suited them.

It sounds like your friend has been very lucky in this climate.
Yes mate very lucky - if he was a cat he'd be left eight lives now.

He works as a skilled gas fitter - he was actually planning on keeping his hand in anyway with the outgoing employers with odd days here and there if they need extra help with jobs (weekend work for example).

It just goes to show its always an advantage never to burn all your bridges with anyone in the job market.

CJ
 

ST

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I suspect I'm about to be in the same position. I'm currently awaiting a start date and contract, hoping they arrive in time for me to resign and be able to serve my full notice period. I don't want to burn bridges with my current employer either as my boss said he'd consider me for future roles should I change my mind and the railways not work out. I also rely on my current employer for references too both for this job but also for alternative jobs if this all falls through and I find myself unemployed. So I find myself in a quandary.
It really is such a difficult position. The TOCs/FOCs could in theory say there would be no issues, but that could change if the virus spread....that would be disastrous for me ie. going from having a secure job to having none worst case!
 

ST

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ST when you say if things don’t go to plan do you mean if your start date is changed by Northern? Not sure why they’d terminate your employment unless you fail exams etc. Doubt it would be redundancy as you can’t make a person redundant, only a role. As they will always need drivers I don’t believe redundancy can apply here.
Hi there

Thanks for coming back. It is as Bouff put it really and the worry around being given notice pretty much straight away.
 

ST

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Hi there,
For anyone in the know from a HR perspective and I appreciate this may be a big ask of the TOC/FOC, what would be the chances of the TOC/FOC making a commitment in writing to (a) Continuing with employment even if the training course is delayed and therefore paying me and (b) commitment to not making me redundant as a result of the spread of the virus.

I appreciate this is probably wishful thinking, but there was a comment above about us not being able to be made redundant so wouldn't the above if asked give those it affects some much needed reassurance?

Thanks

ST
 

221129

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Hi there,
For anyone in the know from a HR perspective and I appreciate this may be a big ask of the TOC/FOC, what would be the chances of the TOC/FOC making a commitment in writing to (a) Continuing with employment even if the training course is delayed and therefore paying me and (b) commitment to not making me redundant as a result of the spread of the virus.

I appreciate this is probably wishful thinking, but there was a comment above about us not being able to be made redundant so wouldn't the above if asked give those it affects some much needed reassurance?

Thanks

ST
Slim to no chance I would imagine.
 

magicmcone

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Same situation here.
I am due to start my training on the 11th of May with SWR. My plan was to give HR a call at the beginning of April to see if there is a bit clearer picture by then.
Honestly, I’m just guessing here, but I think it’s more likely that they delay trainings rather than terminating someone that has passed all the recruiting process and would be an asset to them in the near future unless this outbreak changes the world as we know it.
 

GemGem

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Same situation here.
I am due to start my training on the 11th of May with SWR. My plan was to give HR a call at the beginning of April to see if there is a bit clearer picture by then.
Honestly, I’m just guessing here, but I think it’s more likely that they delay trainings rather than terminating someone that has passed all the recruiting process and would be an asset to them in the near future unless this outbreak changes the world as we know it.
I am really hoping to still start. I have a contract and start date already. Just sitting tight for 2 weeks. No news is good news
 

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