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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50157
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Can my employer give hours of work to contractors that can

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Can my employer give hours of work to contractors that can be done by his full time staff thus reducing there hours of work and wages?
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do the employees contracts say their hours can be reduced?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben

The contract says the following:

"Your normal standard hours of work ate those that are required for the successful running of the business and the completion of your duties and are expected to be no more than 45 per week to be worked in accordance with the requirements of the business and as advised from time to time.

The Employer reserves the right to vary the starting and finishing times and may require you to work overtime as and when necessary to meet the requirements of the business.

Thank you. Does the contract actually stipulate what the contracted hours of work are and do you know approximately how long the affected employees have been employed there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben

Some employees have worked for the company for over three years and myself for three months.

The contract does not state what the contracted hours are. However we have a recent memorandum from the managing director stating that we have been allocated a minimum of 14 14 hour shifts in a 28 day period.

Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Thanks for your patience. Your rights will differ based on your length of service. For you, unfortunately, your rights will be rather more limited than your colleagues. This is because you have less than 2 years’ service and that means you are not protected against unfair dismissal. Therefore what the employer could do is terminate your existing contract and issue you with a new one incorporating the changes they want. You won’t be able to challenge that due to not having the necessary protection. Similarly, you cannot resign and claim constructive dismissal if you believe you have been treated unfairly by the employer as that also requires 2 years’ service.
As far as all of you are concerned, it does not appear that your contracts actually guarantee you any hours at all. It states that you will be given such hours as the business requires of you and that they would not be more than 45 a week, but it does not guarantee a minimum. Therefore, you cannot claim that you are losing contracted hours and you do not have any. In effect you are employed under a zero hours contract where no guarantee to hours is given. The memorandum would not have contractual effect although at best you could argue that you should be allowed to work these allocated shifts but it would only be for this 28 day period. After that it would go back to there being no guarantee to the hours you work.
At any point you want to complain about this you can raise a grievance with the employer but taking any further than that would be difficult because you are not guaranteed any hours and legally there is nothing stopping the employer from giving hours to contractors or anyone else – all they are bound to do is honour your contracted hours if such exist, which is not the case here.
I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
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