Contractor Clinic: Breaking a contract

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There may come a time when you’re on assignment and find that you need to terminate your contract early. This is not a decision that should be rushed as there could be serious ramifications involved.

Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking of breaking your contract:

An agreement has been made

When you entered the contract you signed an agreement to complete the assignment over a specified period of time. If this is no longer possible, there is usually a four week notice period that you should normally be required to complete before leaving the site.

Negotiating a shorter notice

If giving four weeks’ notice is a problem you should speak to your client or agency first before making any rash decisions. Negotiating a quicker release may be possible and will prevent you from breaking your contract. Please note that if you are on a fixed-term contract, you will be unable to leave your assignment. If you try to do so, you will most likely end up breaching the terms of your agreement.

Leaving without fulfilling the correct notice

If you choose to leave without providing the correct notice you will have breached your contract. This could result in you being liable to pay compensation to your client and/or agency.

Be professional

Sometimes a contract just isn’t working for you and leaving is your only option. It’s important you’re aware that breaking your contract can leave a bad impression with your client or agency, and could damage your reputation.

If leaving really is the only option, explain your reasons fully and work hard to maintain a relationship with your client or agency. This will help ensure you don’t hinder your chances of securing future work.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? Have you been in the position of wanting to break your contract? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.