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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am a sole trader hairdresser employing 5 members of staff

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I am a sole trader hairdresser employing 5 members of staff 2 of which have been with me for 27 years working part time hours. The vat is killing my business and I have been advised by my accountant to go ltd.I want to keep my staff and the business has made a loss for the last 3 years with me paying the vat bill from my mortgage account draw down scheme, i couldnt pay redundancy even if i wanted to. Can I give my existing staff therefore new contracts with limited/zero hours when necessary.10 years ago I changed busuness premises and the salon name but the staff came with me. If redundancy was available for them, how many years do I havevto pay them for as their contracts were renewed under a new salon name but theirvemployment wasn't broken . I want to get this right !

Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are the staff you mention employees or self employed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben, the staff are employees.

If you were to change your existing employees’ terms and move them from a permanent contract with guaranteed hours to one on zero hours then you would be implementing a change to their contracts of employment. 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. So in the first place it is best to approach the employees, explain what changes are needed and why, making it clear that failure to agree to these changes could easily result in redundancies. If the changes have to be introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available to the employees: 1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that they are working ‘under protest’. This means that they do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime they can 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., they 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 having at least 2 years' continuous service. They 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. So this is the option you may look at if no consent is obtained. You would need to give them the contractual notice period they are due though, which must be a minimum of 12 weeks. As to redundancy, they would have their continuous service preserved and the change of name and employer would not have broken it, so in terms of redundancy you are looking at 20 years’ worth, which is the maximum allowable. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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