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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44941
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi. Hoping you can help. My organisation (a medium sized

Customer Question

Hi. Hoping you can help. My organisation (a medium sized charity) is going through a workforce review where one or two people will be made redundant. The rest of the staff will be redeployed in new roles. Currently my job is as a Partnership Development Manager and they are proposing that I should apply for the new role of Partnership Officer. The role is exactly the same, but there is a demotion in the title and a reduction in salary with a bonus scheme introduced. The post was originally full time at £30K, but as I have two small children I asked if I could work part time on a pro rata system for four days a week at £24K. They are now offering £18K plus a bonus as a part time role. Can my employer do this change legitimately?
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 assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

Only around 10 months.

Ben Jones :

Is it £18k for the 4 days of working?

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

Currently I am on £24K for four days, but I am assuming that they either want me to work the same hours with a reduced wage (£18) and a bonus scheme or drop me to less hours, maybe to three days a week. That has not been made clear. I guess I need to know where I would stand with either option presented.

Ben Jones :

This will effectively amount to a redundancy situation where the employer is trying to reorganise its business, streamline its operation and create new jobs, even if they will cover more or less the same duties.

In such circumstances, an employer has a duty to offer any suitable employment to those whose jobs are affected and at risk. If a suitable offer is made, they can accept it and continue working for the company, avoiding redundancy. If they do not believe the offer is suitable and reasonably reject it then they can opt for redundancy. For example, an offer will be unsuitable if there is a drop in salary, which means the employee would not be obliged to take it.

The issue in your case is going to be your length of service. If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.).

Therefore, they can simply offer you a new job on a reduced salary and if you are unhappy with it then you may be dismissed easily by simply being issued with your contractual notice period.

So in your case you have the option of accepting this offer as it stands, otherwise you would either face being dismissed or being forced to leave.

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

So they can basically offer you the same job but with a demotion in terms of salary and title, and yet expect you to carry out exactly the same role? What happens if it is actually then impossible to do the role in the reduced hours rather than the hours it currently takes you? If I don't take the new offer, will they have to dismiss me rather than make me redundant? I do feel that I am discriminated anyway because I have taken my option of asking for flexible working due to having small children and am the only person that has ever asked this.

Ben Jones :

In your case what they can do is issue you with notice to terminate your current contract and re-employ you on the new terms. If you do not like that then you cannot claim unfair dismissal due to not having the required service with them. Alternatively, they could just force the changes through and if you do not like it then you could be forced to resign but again you cannot make a claim for that due to your length of service.

Whilst discrimination is a possibility you will need to show that either you are being treated like this directly due to your flexible working request or that it had something to do with it. This may not necessarily be easy to prove though. Ideally you need to compare yourself to someone who is not with childcaring requirements who is part time but gets paid more than you

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

Is issuing me with a notice to terminate my contract the same as them making me redundant? In whatever case, if I do not accept the demotion/reduced pay then I can't claim unfair dismissal because of my length of employment?

Ben Jones :

yes it is your contractual notice period and unfortunately you cannot claim unfair or constructive dismissal due to your length of service

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

So my only option is to take the reduced pay otherwise they will make me redundant? How can that be right when they are asking me to do the same job but for less pay.

Ben Jones : It is not fair I agree, morally it is wrong but legally they can do that and what matters here is whether this is a legally acceptable action, which unfortunately it is.
Ben Jones : The only get out clause is whether this is anything to do with your flexi request
Ben Jones : That is the only way to pursue discrimination but some evidence will be required
JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

I was under the understanding though that if over 80% of your role stayed the same then they couldn't essentially say the role was redundant or ask you to take a pay cut.

Ben Jones : No there is no such rule, certainly not specific percentages. Redundancy is when there is a diminished requirement for people to do work of a particular kind but whatever the case this is irrelevant here because even if this was unfair redundancy you cannot claim for it due to your length of service
Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

I have been told though that the only reason that they have decided to reduce my hours further is because I have already reduced them due to asking for flexible working arrangements. Does this make it discriminatory? Also, out of the five staff 'at risk' of redundancy all of us are female, whilst the three staff not 'at risk' are all male - even though actually there jobs will not change more that the five women affected.

Ben Jones :

the employer cannot select someone for redundancy or place them at risk just because they are female. That is direct discrimination. Similarly, if there is a practice, criterion or provision applied which places females at greater disadvantage it could be indirect discrimination. So I do not know why only females are at risk and males are not and unless the employer can provide a non-discriminatory reason for their decision, then discrimination is still a potential issue. Similarly, with the reason you were chosen, that could be indirect sex discrimination. But I stress again that whilst you can challenge all of this ow, if the employer refuses to acknowledge your concerns or brushes off your arguments then all you can do to take this further is to make a claim for sex discrimination in the employment tribunal

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

That is great. I just wondered whether with these circunstances I would have a possible claim for discrimination

Ben Jones :

A potential claim does exist, whether you are successful is an entirely separate matter, it is for the employer to justify that there was no discriminatory conduct at play so depending on hat evidence they put forward it can potentially be defended. So at this stage it is impossible to say as we do not know what they provide as evidence. But even if you make a claim the potential to settle this exists so you can be offered a settlement without having to go to a full hearing

JACUSTOMER-dt1knxtz- :

Thanks. Last question. To put forward a claim, is this something that I have to use a solicitor to do or would I do it independantly?

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