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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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I do have a work contract that has expired as stated by my

Customer Question

I do have a work contract that has expired as stated by my employer. She give notice of the changes in contract as from 1 November 2015. We got our new documents, not a professional contract and our terms changed from permanent employees to a yearly contract basis. We was paid on the new contract before we had the new contract. Nobody yet signed the contract. I got a job offer on Friday which I can hardly refuse, but I need to start on 1 December. I was under the impression that without a signed and agreed upon contract, I can give 24 hours notice. My employer don't want to accept this, but paid us on the new unsigned contracts. What is my rights and if I need to give a month's notice can I cancel my letter in which I gave notice? Kind regards ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning

So, if I understand you correctly, she is saying that the contracts expired and that if you do not sign the new contracts, your contract is not going to be renewed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We still need to sign the new contracts. I just want to know about the 24 hours notice and do I have the right to withdraw my letter of resignation that I send yesterday
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 1 year ago.

1. First off, you cannot withdraw your intention to cancel your employment agreement. Effectively, all that happened is that your 24 hour notice period is just going to be replaced by a month notice period. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act state that if you have worked at a place for longer than a year, then you have to give four weeks notice. So, 28 days notice.

2. If, however, the contract is a fixed term agreement that ends on, for instance, 30 November 2015, there is no need to give notice. The contract ends on 30 November 2015 because the contract says so. Effectively, the parties has given each other 1 years' notice of the termination of the agreement when they entered into the agreement.

3. If the agreement ended on 31 October 2015, but you continued to be employed there, then the contract has been rolled on indefinitely and you would have to revert to four weeks notice as required by the act.

So, from the above, you should be able to tell if you are allowed to give 24 hour notice or not. If you are not allowed to give 24 hour notice, then we must look at what the consequences are going to be if you start at the new place tomorrow.

Your previous employer can sue you for damages due to breach of contract. But they can only get damages if they actually suffer damages. In other words, if your resignation results in them having to incur costs over and above your salary in order to replace you, then they would be able to claim that excess. If your leaving results in them losing a large contract with one of their clients because you are the key person and they were not able to ease the client into a transition, then they can claim that loss of income.

In most instances, however, where an employee gives 24 hour notice, there is very little to no damages, though.

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