Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
Have worked there since October 2006. Would appreciate an early response. Many thanks.
Good morning and thank for your patience. Just one more thing to clarify before I respond – what does your contract say about the employer’s ability to change your hours and do you have guaranteed contracted hours at present?
The only contract I have is when I first commenced employment with them in October 2006 which states I was employed for 12 hours per week. My hours have increased to 18 hours per week since then, but no new contract was issued at this time.
Thank you for your response. I commenced employment with CH
I will get used to this reply system As far as I am aware, we have to be available to work, 5 days out of 7 over the period the shop is open from 7.00a.m - 10.00p.m. 7 days a week, 365 days per week, to cover the opening hours. We have to have at least 1 full day off per week, running from Monday - Sunday. Although, I am not sure, if we as employees have a say in when we actually work, as we were all taken on, on a shift basis to cover when the shop was/is open. My original hours were 12 hours per week. Increased to 18. Others commenced their employment say at 16 hours per week and have had their hors increased to 28.75 per week and they are having 3 hours per week taken off them, whereas I am having 2 hours per week taken off me Hope this answers your question. If not please get back to me
Thanks for clarifying. The issue here is what is in your contract and whether your employer is able to make the changes they propose under it. For example, are you guaranteed specific hours under its terms, or are they subject to change as as required by the business needs. Your contract may say 12 hours but if it was previously agreed that you will be working 18 hours and this was consistently applied and meant as a permanent change, then that could overrule your written contract.
Assuming that your hours were fixed, then there are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:
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.
Thank you for your reply. You have made the situation a little clearer for me in terms of the contract etc etc Thank you very much for your reply