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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46182
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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if i ask to change my hours at work because of failing health

Resolved Question:

Hi if i ask to change my hours at work because of failing health but then dont agree with what my employer puts in my new contract IE:cannot go back to full time hours this change is permanant or they won't agree to my origanal terms and conditions. They say bacuase i have worked the new hours for several months on a phased return to work that i have no choice because by working the reduced hours i have accepted!.
Can they force me to accept and work the new hours,terms and conditions.
I have told them i dont agree and wont accept or sign new contract evan though i asked to reduce my hours i have also told them that i am only working the new hours under protest i put this in a letter and asked for a meeting to try sort things out but they said there's no need for a meeting and i cannot go back to normal. PS i carn't really go back to full time hours because of my health if i did i would end up been sacked for sickness absence and ultamatly poor time keeping it is the changes to my contract and general terms and conditions i do not agree with thanks m pugh.
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. Apart from the hours what else has changed in your contract?

Customer:

my origanal contrac twas just a stndard one with sections i did not agree with and sat down with a director of the company and went through the contract and told him what i would and would not agree with ! but the new contract has reverted back to the company standard one and i wont sign it

Ben Jones :

ok so at what point did you advise the employer you were not accepting these changes?

Customer:

They siad new cantract would start on 17-11-14 even though i was on a phased return to work after an accident with my arm up to jan 2015 when my treatment finished and i gave them a letter dated 18-12-14 informing them i was working under protest and did not agree new contract

Ben Jones :

how long have you worked there for?

Customer:

7 years 2 months

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please

Customer:

ok thanks

Ben Jones :

There are 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.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

Customer:

thank you

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Customer:

Sorry Ben but the site will not let me rate the you

Customer:

accept

Ben Jones :

Apologies for tat it is probably a bug, we can resolve at our end, many thanks

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46182
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
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