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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50177
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a contract of employment that has my working hours down

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I have a contract of employment that has my working hours down as Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm. I have worked for the company for 5 years. I have done overtime in the week and at the weekends to help the company out during busy times. They asked me about a year ago if we would rota on a sunday each it worked out around 1 every 6 to 7 weeks, we did this, now they have said we have got to go on a rota every 4th sunday and want us to sign a contract saying that we will do 40 hours over a seven day period and that Sunday can only be booked off with a full weeks holiday or at their digression if they can't cover it we can't have it. We are an internet company for window blinds, and curtains etc but we can and do get customers in on occasion that come in and look at samples and order and pay for the products in the work place, can this be counted as retail? I have refused to sign and they say I have got to. I have told them this is causing problems at home as my husband doesn't want me to work weekends we have 7 grandchildren and weekends is when we get to see them, the answer basically is tough, but they are employing more people, for weekdays and to go on the rota, they said they can't get any weekend staff but they haven't even tried. Have I got any case? it is making me ill, the doctor has just given me some sleeping/anti depressants.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has everyone else agreed to these changes?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There are eight of us, one lady has asked to come off the rota and do less hours doing a sit down job as she is getting on a bit and has arthritis they have said yes, no one wants to do it but unless there is any law to say they don't have to they will sign as they are frightened of losing their jobs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I first thought the retail law applied to us about Sunday working but it seems to be a grey area.
As you can see, the employer is basically trying to amend your contractual terms and conditions. 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.
In terms of Sunday working rights, it is indeed a grey area and will only apply if you work retail or a shop. By law a shop is defined as any premises where there is carried out a trade or business consisting solely or mainly of the sale of goods. So you could argue that your circumstances mean that you ate covered by this law but you cannot force the employer to accept this and if that happens you can only challenge it in the tribunal or court. As a first step i suggest you all get together mand try to put pressure on the employer - they cant dismiss you all so working as a group may be more effective in this case.
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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