Thank you. In the circumstances it would appear that the changes which were introduced 2 months ago had resulted in a permanent change to her contract, unless it was agreed that it was only going to be a temporary measure. In that case, should you wish to change her hours of work again, you would be doing it as a change to her contract of employment.
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.
Assuming she does not accept the changes you may have to consider forcing the changes through, perhaps by terminating her existing contract and offering her a new one with the new hours. It is possible for an employee to try and claim unfair dismissal in this case but 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 avoid financial problems.
So in this case you should be able to justify that the changes were necessary for business reasons as it would not have been financially viable for you to keep her on the existing arrangement.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have should she decide to take things further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you