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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44961
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi, Im hoping you can help. I have just been given a letter

Customer Question

Hi, I'm hoping you can help. I have just been given a letter stating that I will be asked to take a pay cut of over 8,000 per year with a job title change that actually commands a higher salary and that this is to help combat the companies expisure to the challenging economic climate and in line with the restructure of the marketing department. However I havent had a notice of redundancy served, only the 5 designers within the team have been served this and have recently gone through the process of applying for new roles created for them. I just wanted to ask whether this is something a company can do, if in fact there is a role here for me, and one that does infact command a higher salary? They are looking to change my renumeration from July 1st 2013.

Thank you for your help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know how long have you worked there?

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

Hi Ben, I have worked here since November 2010

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

Do you need any further information to help with this answer?

Ben Jones :

no thanks just getting my advice ready

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

ok thank you

Ben Jones :

There are several ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are:

1. By receiving the employee’s express consent.

2. By forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').

3. By giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the changes.

If the employee agrees to the changes then that would usually put an end to the matter.

If the changes are introduced forcefully then the following options are open to the employee:

1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that they are working ‘under protest’. This means that the employee does not agree with the changes but is only working them because they feel they are forced to. In the meantime they should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.

2. If the changes are serious enough (e.g. a change to pay, duties, place of work, etc.) the employee may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without undue delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to the employee having at least 2 years' continuous service.

3. Finally, if the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for dismissing an employee who refuses to accept the variation in terms. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, the employee can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.

It is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to the employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer carte blanche to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably.

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

Can the company do this without putting me on notice of redundancy and can they still put me on notice of redundancy even though I have received to day a letter stating my new salary and job title?

Ben Jones :

they do not have to give you notice of redundancy unless there is actually a redundancy situation.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines a redundancy situation as falling within one of the following circumstances:

  1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed
  2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites
  3. Diminished requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind.
JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

And just to be clear, the apparent re-orgs and restructures of the company have now finshed. This letter has offered me the new role on the new salary. Can they retract that and put me on notice of redundancy?

Ben Jones :

if you have not accepted the offer and a redundancy situation arises, yes they can

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

Is there a case here for me to discuss the fact I dont feel they are giving me any alternative but to leave this current employment, to seek another position that will pay me the salary not only that I feel it deserves but one that I need to personally earn?

Ben Jones :

you cannot force them to do so, if you are unhappy with what they have offered you do not have to accept it and you will have to consider which of the above mentioned options to go for

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

Ok thank you, seems there arent many options other than to accept the pay cut

Ben Jones :

well, not unless you wish to leave, although trying to challenge it internally first is also an option

JACUSTOMER-mpbqxs3v- :

But in terms of having a case to present in terms of their conduct having not shown me job descriptions or communicating this properly, you would say I can cahllenege it internally but perhaps don't really have much of a case?

Ben Jones :

the issue with challenging it internally is that you are still relying on your employer to make a decision and they could already have their mind made up and can reject your complaint. I can't predict what the outcome of that would be I'm afraid but it may certainly be worth trying

Ben Jones :

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you

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