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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My existing employer is revamping the whole companies contracts

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My existing employer is revamping the whole companies contracts all of their 350 employees back dating to the original starting date of each employee, they say they are updating the contract owing to new employment laws. They will be including use of internet and mobiles for non use in the workplace, but they are also adding they can change our working hours with a three months warning. Can they do this and do we have to sign a new revamped contract. To me the only advantage is they will find it easier to sack you then protecting us against new employment law. I signed a contract prior to 2000 and i have been asked that it must be signed and returned by mid July 2014. What are my rights?

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

14 years


what is your answer to my question??

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Ben


You have not answered my question



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

All you have answered with is how long have you worked at your present employee - that is not an answer but a question.



Hello, my sincere apologies for the delay in responding, my laptop broke and I have had no way of getting back online until I received a replacement today. Could you please clarify if your employer has told you what new employment laws they are trying to include by introducing these new contracts?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are proposing to add about non use of mobiles, non use of internet during working hours, they are also trying to add that they can change my working hours with a 3 month notice period, they are also advising that if a programme has been created in house that it stays in house. I do not believe these to be employment laws but company policies within the company, The real issue is can they change my hours by giving me a three month notice of intention? Do i have to sign this contract after all these years is it to protect employment laws or to protect the company


You are correct that the changes the employer is trying to introduce are not any new or old employment laws which they are required to include in your contracts. Therefore, these would only be introduced at their own discretion and because they believe they should be in there.

As far as your legal position is concerned, 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.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to update your rating if possible, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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