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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44961
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a charge nurse band 6 in the UK. can I be forced to accept

Customer Question

I am a charge nurse band 6 in the UK. can I be forced to accept an acting band 7 job if I do not want it which would include change to my family friendly working hours
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 :

Does your contract say you can be asked to act up if necessary?

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

no i have had this same contract since 1996

Ben Jones :

So there is no policy or anything else that says you can be asked to move in such circumstances?

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

this move has come because the present band 7 is going to help out with a project however it has been put to us band 6 that we have no choice but to take up the job not even with a discussion relating to our work/family life relationship

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

we normally work shift rotation 12 hour shift this gives me 3 working day a week and 4 days off with family.

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

band 7 will mean monday to friday 8am to 4pm which i am not suited to and havent done over 20years

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

hello anyone there?

Ben Jones :

yes I am preparing my advice for you

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

ok thanks

JACUSTOMER-u4txlzwt- :

you can send the advice to my email address and also leave it on chat so that i an view it later thanks

Ben Jones :

Ok well the key here is whether your contract, or some other contractually binding policy allows your employer to ask you to do this. Some contracts may have a clause that you can be asked to act up or to take on additional responsibilities as required. These can be legal and enforceable, although they should also consider side factors like any formal flexible working requests that you may have in place. So if your family friendly working hours were formally agreed following a flexible working request, the employer should still honour them.

If no such clause exists and it appears that the employer is just forcing these changes through then it can amount to a change to your existing contract.

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.

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

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

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