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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 52078
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been doing over 45 hrs at work a week for over 8

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i have been doing over 45 hrs at work a week for over 8 years can my employer reduce it to my contracted hours 37hrs and give the extra hours to another employee

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Has this extra time been applied consistently?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i work in the transport industry and there is different rotas but my employer has been reducing hours on my rota and increasing hours on other rotas

Thank you. The only way to realistically try and challenge this would be by relying on the argument of 'custom and practice’, under which certain terms may become implied into an employment contract. This makes them contractually binding even if they are not written down anywhere. This area of law is rather complex and it is usually only down to the tribunalsto establish with certainty if something had become an implied term. Nevertheless, it does not prevent employees from directly raising this argument with their employers in any negotiations.

From a legal perspective, to become an implied term a practice must be "reasonable, notorious and certain". In simpler terms this means it must be well established over a period of time, known to employees and clear and unambiguous. So it would need to have been clearly communicated to affected staff so that they have a degree of expectation for it and then it must have been consistently applied for a substantial period of time. Therefore, somethingthat is uncertain, not widely communicated or applied consistently or has just been around for a few months is unlikely to qualify.

Case law has suggested that the following are important factors when considering whether a term has become implied into a contract:
• On how many occasions, and over how long a period, the terms in question have been applied - the more times they have been applied and the longer the period over which this has occurred, the stronger the argument they had become implied into the contract
• Whether the terms are always the same - large differences will make the argument they had become implied weaker

Whilst the argument of custom and practice can be raised with the employer in negotiations, they could of course refuse to accept it and if that is the case it can only realistically bechallenged by taking this to an employment tribunal. Before that option is pursued it may also be worth raising a formal grievance to give the employer one last chance to resolve this internally.

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Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. Whilst you cannot prevent the employer from reducing your hours there are a couple of things you can do to challenge that. First of all you can raise a formal internal grievance. If that does not work then the next steps are more serious because you are looking at potentially resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. This is a last resort action though so only pursue it if you cannot continue working there as a result.