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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49773
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been working for the company for six years my contracted

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I have been working for the company for six years my contracted hours 8.30 to 17.30 Monday to Friday and additional Saturday 9.00 to 12.00 when required I have never worked a Saturday in the six years I have been there,the company are now trying to bring in a Saturday rota 8.30 to 17.30 as overtime,if I am unable to find cover for my Saturday or do not turn up on my Saturday I will get disciplined,i would like to know if I would have to work overtime Saturday if so would it be my contracted hours and can they discipline me on overtime
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is this supposed to be a regular thing, ie every week, or just occasionally as required? Please note I am mobile today so may not be able to respond immediately, thanks

Saturday working would be every other week but on my contract it says 9.00 12.00 as required thanks

Ben Jones :

Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier on. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

The starting positions would be your contract, which in this case states that you would be expected to work Saturdays as required, although the hours specified in there are only mentioned as 9 – 12. This does not correspond with the employer’s proposed changes which would require you to work longer hours on a Saturday. So whilst they could have relied on the contract to ask you to work short Saturdays as and when required, if they are going to ask you to do longer hours that would be against your current terms and it could potentially amount to a change to your contractual terms.

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.

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


thank you for your reply,what I forgot to mention was that Saturday overtime is being implicated in the yard but I work in transport would this still be the same answer

Ben Jones :

do you mean that you would be expected to do work which you do not normally undertake, i.e. something which does not fall within your usual job description?


yes it does it is a totally different department

Ben Jones :

it would not change the above but it would give you a stronger argument because you are not only being asked to do additional hours which are not currently under your contract but you are also being asked to change your duties on top of that


could you give me some tips on how to put my argument forward

Ben Jones :

Well the main points are all discussed above, this is simply a matter of the employer trying to introduce changes to your current contract and your rights are as discussed in the points above - you have rights and it is about which way you decide to apply them. In the first instance this is something you can raise through a grievance


thank you for your help ben

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

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