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Ask taratill Your Own Question
taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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I am currently a sessional teacher on a 0 hours contract in

Resolved Question:

I am currently a sessional teacher on a 0 hours contract in HE and I have been told that my hourly rate will be substantially reduced in a couple of months... is this legal?
Thank you
Greg
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 3 years ago.

taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. How long have you worked on the zero hours contract?

Customer:

about twelve years now

taratill :

How long have you been on your current hourly rate?

Customer:

about the same time... give or take 1% pay rises, but not for the last four years...

taratill :

what breaks are there in your employment is it just for academic breaks and holidays?

Customer:

the rate includes an amount for holiday entitlement and the breaks are for the academic rate which is not changing, just my clinical sessional teaching... it was about £30.00/hour and they want to reduce it to around £18.... the clinic runs throughout the year including academic holidays

taratill :

High what reason have they given for the reduction?

Customer:

that the department within a FE college is not making enough money according to the accountants... we are not privy to the analysis

taratill :

Ok thanks, ***** ***** you been given formal notice of the change in hourly rate, if so how much?

Customer:

I have been informed by my head of department... as I say a reduction from £30/hour to around £18...

taratill :

Ok but no formal notice of a change in terms and conditions as such?

Customer:

no written notice yet.... but a formal verbal inform....

taratill :

ok thanks, ***** ***** basis of what you are say you would be considered to be a permanent employee with 12 years service for employment law purposes. Employers can only change terms and conditions if it is reasonable to do so with proper formal written notice. The procedure would involve full consultaiton with you as to the reasons for the need for the change in terms followed by written notice. Notice in your case would be 12 weeks.

taratill :

If your employer does change your salary without the above then it amounts to a unilateral variation of contract and is considered void.

taratill :

This means you will be able to claim for any deduction in wages in the employment tribunal.

taratill :

If your employer does give notice then you can either accept the new change or refuse to accept it and claim unfair dismissal on the basis that the change is unreasonable.

taratill :

I would suggest you raise a grievance about all of this as clearly the deduction that is proposed is unrealistic.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please do ask.

Customer:

I am only sessional for one and and a half days... am I still considered employed?? We as a team have all raised our concerns at a meeting and been told "that's just the way it is"

taratill :

one and a half days over what period?

Customer:

13 years

taratill :

sorry perhaps I have not asked clearly enough. You say you work 1 and 1/2 days is that in a week/ a month or over a longer period?

Customer:

1 and a half days weekly

taratill :

Hi thank you. That makes no difference to the advice I have given. You should be consulted with and given notice.

Customer:

so, to recap, I am considered employed (on a 0 hours contract) and if I do not receive written notice of changes in 12 weeks then I have to undertake a grievance procedure and attend an employment tribunal at the college? If I refute the changes, then am I likely to be dismissed or made redundant....

taratill :

Hi yes if they reduce your wages without notice you can raise a grievance and claim unlawful deduction from wages. If you are dismissed for raising a concern about this then it would amount to unfair dismissal.

Customer:

and how long legally do they have to notify us of their changes on paper as it were?

taratill :

a week per year of employment therefore 12 weeks and it needs to be in writing.

Customer:

sorry, but that means they need to formally notify me in writing within 12 weeks?

taratill :

No at the beginning of the 12 weeks. They give you 12 weeks notice of the change. So if they give you notice today they can reduce 12 weeks from tomorrow.

taratill :

Any less notice then it amounts to an unilateral variation of contract and you can claim.

Customer:

I am sorry again, but I am not sure I totally understand....

taratill :

Ok let me set it out again.

taratill :

1. Your employer cannot vary your wages without notice.

taratill :

2. They must give 12 weeks notice BEFORE they reduce your pay.

taratill :

3. If they do not then you can claim back the difference between the 2 amounts in the employment tribunal.

taratill :

4. Even if they do give notice it is such a big drop that you can argue it is unreasonable and raise a grievance.

taratill :

5. If you are dismissed for complaining then you can bring a claim of unfair dismissal.

taratill :

Hopefully that sets it out clearly for you.

Customer:

Thank you for your help

taratill :

No problem, I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. All the best for the future and please do come back to me in the future if you need to.

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