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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49820
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work for a small company and have been there for 2 years

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I work for a small company and have been there for 2 years but don't have a contract, Because I was off sick for 2 weeks with a sick note and due to time off last year when I had a hand operation, My boss has said she is cutting my hours because of this but employing some one else to cover those hours. Can you she do this?
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When exactly did you start working there?


I started work there 2 years ago this September just gone

Ben Jones :

Have you always worked set hours?


When I first started work there I did 17 hours but over time I now work between 22 & 26 hours a week, now she wants to cut this to 15 hours.

Ben Jones :

were any specific hours agreed when you started?



Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please


ok thank you, ***** ***** reply

Ben Jones :

The main issue here is that you did not have a contract in place which specified your working hours. So you have nothing official to refer to in order to argue that you are contracted to do a specific number of hours a week. It means that the employer could try and argue that you did not have contracted hours so they could change them as they wish.

However, it is not as easy as that. You can still claim that you had some contracted hours, perhaps the average you have been doing over the past 2 years because you have done a reasonably consistent amount. So in that case you can argue that the current proposed changes amount to a change to your implied contractual hours.

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.

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


Thank you for your advice, Is it possible that you could send this information to my email address?

Ben Jones :

we cannot email customers but you have a few options:

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Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the bestc

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