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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48745
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work in a card/gift shop and approximately 6 months ago I

Resolved Question:

I work in a card/gift shop and approximately 6 months ago I changed from working 4 days per week to 3 days per week at my request. My employer agreed to the reduction but said that I would have to work alternative weeks - one week on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday and the following week Tuesday Wednesday and Friday.

In order to accommodate a new employee who can only work Monday and Tuesday my employer now wants me to change the days I work to Wednesday Thursday and Friday of each week. However, this doesn't suit me. Can my employer insist? Can I refuse? What are my rights?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

For approximately 6 years

Ben Jones :

So they are basically going back on the original agreement? Was that done in writing?

Customer:

Originally I worked 4 days per week with my day off being flexible but several years ago it was agreed that I would have Thursday off to accommodate a new employee. As far as I am aware there is a written contract but unfortunately I do not have a copy although I do not recall the mention of which days worked. We are not going back to the original working pattern but to a new one to accommodate a new member of staff. I should add that this is a small shop and on the days I work there is just me working with the owner calling in from time to time to assist.

Ben Jones :

When the changes were agreed were they made permanent or were they conditional on something or temporary?

Customer:

The changes were made verbally but as far as I was aware they were permanent, although my employer is now suggesting that they were for a trial period.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Customer:

Thanks

Ben Jones :

A lot will depend on whether the changes were meant to be permanent or just a temporary fix. If permanent, then a change now would amount to a change of your contractual terms and conditions and it is something you can consider challenging if necessary.


 


In that case, there are only a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:



  • Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes.

  • Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').

  • Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.


 


If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:


 


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


 


2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable 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 you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.


 


3. 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 try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you 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.


 


Of course some of the above options are a last resort so try and resolve this internally if at all possible, for example through the grievance procedure.


 

Customer:

Thanks

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Customer:

When trying t o rate your answer it states that your expert has not finished answering

Ben Jones :

it is a bug sorry, you can just type it in instead and we will process it, thank you

Customer:

Thank you. My rating is good.

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