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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have recently signed a contract of employment (3 months ago)

Resolved Question:

I have recently signed a contract of employment (3 months ago) which states that the shift I work on (alternating every week from days to evenings) is subject to a 25% shift premium.

After 2 months I noticed that the shift premium in my wages has only been at 12.5%. After querying this I was told that the 25% shift premium was accredited to the "lates" or evening portion of the shift only, but was agreed with the shop floor (prior to my arrival) to split the 25% over the day and evening shift. However, in my contract the only statement regarding shift premiums on my relevant shift reads as:
"25% on basic hourly rate for all hours worked in the week".

As the splitting of the shift premium was unaware to me, have I signed a contract that states I am on 25% or 12.5% for the hours I work? Also, can the company just fob it off as an error and now re-write my contract?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

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

Ben Jones :

Did you actually start the job 3 months ago or was this just a new contract with your existing employer?

Customer:

Started new employment on 2nd Sept 2013

Ben Jones :

have they said they are going to try and rewrite your contract now?

Customer:

Yes. Either re-written or an amendment.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

When you signed the contract and took the job, you can expect the employer to adhere to these terms contained within it. If you have relied on these terms and have worked in that job, then you can expect to be paid in accordance with these terms. So if there was a clause which provided you with a certain shift allowance and no details of any conditions that may not entitle you to it depending on the shift you do, you can expect to be paid it in accordance with the description of that benefit as it currently stands. If your employer wanted to differentiate between the type of shift when this allowance would apply then they should have made that clear to you or at least directed you to a relevant policy that deals with this.


 


So you can claim that you should be paid the full allowance for the time you have worked for them since the start of that job. The issue is that if they now want to change your contract to reflect the conditions of when this allowance is to be paid, you will not have many rights to challenge this due to the short time you have worked there. You can raise a grievance, but the usual option to take this further after that is to resign and claim constructive dismissal but to do so you need to have at least 2 years' continuous service. It does also mean that if you do not agree to the change and make a fuss about it, the employer can also dismiss you because you will not have any protection against unfair dismissal as you need to have the 2 years service as well.


 


So you can claim the payments to date and if necessary even go to court or a tribunal over it, but consider how to deal with a change to your contract now, remembering that you have limited ways of challenging that.

Customer:

Thank you for your response. I am quite prepared to go along with the changes the company are going to make and will put forward your proposal of reimbursement. Would the back pay be payable up to the date I asked for it or to the date the contract changes?

Ben Jones :

until the contract changes, once the new contract applies then the allowance will no longer apply

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

Customer:

Thank you. Yes this is has satisfactorily answered my question.

Customer:

Can I still ask follow questions if necessary?

Ben Jones :

as long as they are related to the original query

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