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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45375
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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if my employer does not meet my contract hours and are not

Resolved Question:

if my employer does not meet my contract hours and are not willing to give them to me what are my options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones :

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

Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

will be 5 years this year

Ben Jones :

What is the reason for not getting the hours?

Customer:

not enough hours in store to give to people

Ben Jones :

does your contract say they can reduce your hours or lay you off?

Customer:

i don't believe so but am currently waiting on a copy to arrive

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

As an alternative to dismissal (most commonly because of redundancy), an employer may wish to deal with an unexpected downturn in business by laying off employees (asking them not to come into work) or putting them on short-time working (reducing their working hours/days). The legal definitions of the two options are:



  • Laid off - if an employee has been told to go home for at least one full working day.

  • Placed on short-time working - if an employee's pay for the week is less than half a normal week's pay.


It is only possible to lay off employees or put them on short-time working when an express or implied contractual right to do so exists. If such a right does not exist the employer will be acting in breach of contract and that could entitle the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

However, if there is a clause allowing the employer to do this, or the employee agrees to it, for example in order to avoid redundancy, certain rights will apply after a set period of time. If someone has been laid off or placed on short-time working for 4 consecutive weeks, or 6 weeks within a 13-week reference period, they would be able to ask the employer to make them redundant. There is a strict procedure that needs to be followed and more details can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/lay-offs-short-timeworking/applying-for-redundancy-

So there is protection available to employees who have been laid off or who have had their hours cut. It is however important to follow the precise steps as per the link above, if the employee wishes to go down the route of requesting redundancy.

If the criteria for asking for a redundancy are not satisfied then it can still be argued that the employer's actions amount to breach of contract and/or unlawful deduction of wages. This could result in resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal and/or compensation for the money that would have been earned had the employer not breached the contract.

If the employee believes that the situation is serious enough so that they no longer feel they can work there, they can resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal. In order to qualify, there is a requirement of at least 2 years' continuous service and the claim must be made within 3 months of leaving.


Customer:

so if there is not a clause in the contract saying they can lower the hours worked am i still entitled to the pay that the contract would give

Ben Jones :

yes correct

Customer:

and if the wages are still deducted what process would i have to go through in order to get them back

Ben Jones :

In order to try and resolve this, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that this is being treated as unlawful deduction of wages and ask them to pay back the money within 7 days. Advise them that if they fail to pay the money that is owed, legal proceedings could follow.

If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available:



  1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the deductions were made. To make the claim, form ET1 needs to be completed and submitted - you can find it here: https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

  2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years and is usually used if you are out of time to claim in the Tribunal. The claim can be made online by going to: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.


Hopefully by warning the employer you are aware of your rights and are not going to hesitate taking further action they will be prompted to reconsider their position and work towards resolving this.

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Yes sorry just making sure i have everything clear in what i need. As in making sure that the contract does or does not say that they can lower the working hours and if it does not then making sure that my wages are not deducted and if they are then writing to them to peruse that the money is returned.

Ben Jones :

yes correct

Customer:

so if the contract does state they can lower the hours there is nothing else i can do correct

Ben Jones :

it would be much more difficult, you could ask for a reasonable notice to introduce the changes but eventually they can do it

Customer:

would it have to state how far they can lower them buy or can they effectively reduce it to 0 if they wanted?

Ben Jones :

the clearer the better for them but there could be a clause allowing for full reduction, this is called a lay off, however then you are eventually able to claim redundancy as explained above so you won't be stuck with no pay forever

Customer:

also concerning the contract. when i asked the store manager about being short this week i was told that its based over the year and if i am above the contracted hours (the over time i have done) they can deduct them later on, or something to that wording but i assumed that the contract that stipulates a weekly hour to be worked would work the same

Ben Jones :

that is possible but again only if the contract says that it can be done, it sometimes called annualised hours - you are guaranteed a certain number of hours a year or maybe a month and can either go under or above them - then if you go above the average you can be asked to carry these over but it must be mentioned in the contract

Customer:

right ok and would that follow the calender year or tax year?

Ben Jones :

whatever is defined in the contract, it could be either, or it could be a random year from a set date to another

Customer:

i.e. from date of employment

Customer:

so if it does state that its annualized hours it must also state from when till when also

Ben Jones :

yes

Ben Jones :

a period of calculaiton must be defined

Customer:

and if the case is it doesn't? not that it will just asking everything i can think of

Ben Jones :

then it could be down to whatever common practice has been, for example if you have worked under an implied agreement of dates until now, if you have not you will have to agree on a set period going forward

Customer:

right ok thank you i guess all i can do now is get my contract read it and go from there

Ben Jones :

indeed, it is what governs your employment relationship and your rights in this situation

Customer:

well thank you, ***** ***** saved many hours of trawling the internet to proberly still not understand 100

Customer:

%

Ben Jones :

law can be quite complex I appreciate that so hopefully you understand your position a bit better now

Customer:

yes it can thank you for your time

Ben Jones :

you are welcome , all the best

Customer:

i cannot seem to leave a rating.....

Ben Jones :

the option is enabled, do the boxes not work? If you can't do it you can just type your selection here, thanks

Customer:

no everything is greyed out and says your expert has not finished answering either way i was trying to leave excellent service

Ben Jones :

sometimes there may be a delay in enabling the options, it may work shortly, thanks for your patience

Customer:

ok i will try again a bit later

Ben Jones :

thanks

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45375
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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