Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have they worked there for?
do they have contracted hours and do their contracts allow you to reduce their hours?
have they always worked these hours?
and what do you wish to reduce to hours from and to?
ok thanks, ***** ***** get my response ready please
If these employees have always worked the hours they currently work, then even in the absence of a written contract they could try and argue that these hours were contractual due to the time they have worked them and the consistency in being given the hours. Therefore, any attempt to try and vary these could amount to a change to their contract, which could create some difficulties. It does not mean that you cannot try and reduce these hours, but it would not be without its risks.
The first step would be to try and get the employees’ agreement to this because if you can do so then it would be the simplest solution to this. So I suggest you sit down with them to discuss the situation, advise them of what is needed and the reasons behind that. You can tell them that this is an urgent business need and that if they cannot agree to it them you would have to consider forcing the changes through and it could even result in redundancies where they may end up losing their jobs. Some employees may then agree to the reduction just so they at least remain in a job, rather than face redundancy. If they agree, issue them with a written agreement which they sign, with details of the new hours and whether it is going to be a permanent change which would be reviewed periodically or select a specific period of time over which it would apply.
If no agreement is reached then you would have to consider forcing the changes through. You can do so by terminating their current contracts and re-employing them ion the new ones which have the educed hours. You have to give them a week’s notice for every full year they have worked with you and pay them their normal pay over that time. Once the notice is over you can then advise them that they are being re-employed on the reduced hours. They could try and claim unfair dismissal or breach of contract but it won’t be easy and they will have to pay certain fees so that may put them off. Even if they do, it is possible to try and defend your actions if you can show that there was a genuine need to reduce their hours due to pressing business needs and in order to save the business.
You are welcome