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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48795
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been employed for 13 months with a company, initially

Resolved Question:

I have been employed for 13 months with a company, initially for three days per week and then rising to four days since April 2013. During November I was given four weeks notice (actually informal garden leave) and informed at the same meeting that my contract was being reduced for the leave period back to three days. Accordingly I was paid for four days work per week up until the notice period and then three days thereafter. I did not agree to the contract change. I am correct in taking the company to the small claims court for the difference in salary (circa £900 less stoppages)? There is no contract paperwork but evidence in the form of payslips, diary entries etc can be produced.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Can you please confirm that the employer did issue you with the notice period required by the contract?

Customer:

Hello Ben. Sorry for that delay. In October 2013 I was issued with a contract letter headed 'Contract Position Pending Permanent Director Post with' the company. In the letter it referred to an attached copy of the typical contract which will ultimately form part of your formal employment conditions. This was never formalised. The typical contract gave a notice period of three months on successful completion of the probationary period. The notice period offered was one month. I do not really have an issue with the one month but I do have an issue with a reduction in salary for the notice period. Thank you

Ben Jones :

When you increased to 4 days per week was this agreed as a permanent change?

Customer:

It was, although there is no written correspondence to support this. The only evidence I have is payslips (paye) and diary entries which showed four days per week. When the dispute with the company arose I emailed them and corrected the termination email (which stated three days per week during the notice period) to four days. I never received a reply. I did get an answer much later during the garden leave disputing the four days and stating that I 'clearly had not left four days clear during the notice period for work should any be required' Again I refuted this in a subsequent mail. The final pay period ended today and the pay now shows only three days per week.

Ben Jones :

The success of your claim would depend on you being able to show that the changes to 4 days per week were permanent, because that would mean that your contract was then amended to reflect that. This can happen even if there was nothing agreed in writing, but the key is that it is what the employer’s intentions must have been. If the employer did not intend for this to be a permanent change then it is unlikely that you can take this any further. It would be treated as a temporary change, which would not be taken into account when your notice period is calculated because that would be based on your contracted hours – if the change was only temporary, then your contracted hours would have remained unchanged at 3 days per week. It could end up being your word against the employer’s in this case and then it is only for the court to decide who they believe is right. However, as this is the small claims court the risks of taking this and losing are rather small so if you wanted to you could try your luck anyway.

Customer:

Thank you Ben. If nothing else you have given me a steer to provide evidence that the employer cannot easily refute. I think that I have enough to try. Ultimately as you say the court will make the ruling.

Customer:

Have you completed? It will not allow me to rate you at present.

Ben Jones :

I have unless you have further questions...there may be a delay enabling the rating option, sorry about that

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