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I work for a UK company. My contractual notice period is one month.

Recently I've successfully applied for an internal post at a higher salary. My understanding is that I will start work in the new post in one months time, at the new salary. My manager says that the amount of time before I start in the new role is up to their discretion, say about 3 months. Moreover, that because I'll be working in my current role with my current responsibilities, then I'll be paid my old salary.

My questions are: is this legal and what can I do about it?

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This will depend in part on the industry you are in, the terms of the position that and the employment contract you have signed. You may have covenant or some other confidentiality clauses in your contract of employment, so I will not ask you to provide specifics. However, if you do, please be wary of any such obligations.

I'm not a lawyer, but I have not been able to locate case law that would support an action for you. However, here are some points I might raise.

  • I would want to know why you believe you would be starting in a month. If this is what was advertised, then it is possible you may have some valid claim.

  • It is almost certainly the case that, if you haven't signed a new contract, they are not obliged to give you your new responsibilities and salary.
    There could be just reasons for this - if a company advertises a position on the basis that a position will be vacated, and then it isn't, for example.

  • If you are, in fact, continuing to fulfil your current duties, then I wouldn't see any reason why they would be obliged to pay you the new salary.

Can they keep paying you at your current rate for fulfilling your current duties?
Yes.

What can you do about it?
Legally? There's not enough information here to find out. You can retain a solicitor to review any paperwork if you feel like you have a case.

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I am not familiar with the jurisdiction, I am not a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.

The "notice period" as I understand it is the notice that you have to give before you quit and that they have to give before they make you redundant; that is, it is related to termination of employment. It does not apply here.

Your employment is not being terminated; you are being promoted. The promotion would take effect from (and the higher salary be payable from) the day you assume the duties of the position. This could be tomorrow, next month, 3 years from last Saturday - whatever the company requires.

It may be illegal for them to de jure give the promotion and then delay so long that you have that they have de facto denied that promotion. "3 years from last Saturday" probably falls into that category; "3 months" probably doesn't

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