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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73494
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Following a job levelling exercise within my company, I am

Customer Question

Hi. Following a job levelling exercise within my company, I am being asked to sign a contract variation to extend my notice period from 3 months to 6 months, without any compensation or benefits in return. I dont agree with this change. Do I simply respond by email that I do not accept this variation? Thanks
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No one
JA: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: employees and contractors
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

How long have you worked there for? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hi Ben, I have been working there since September 2017. I have recently been promoted to a VP position which I imagine is the trigger for such a request.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. The employer is free to propose a new notice period, or other contractual changes, after a promotion or change in responsibilities. They could make the change conditional on you getting that new role or status. You say that you have received no benefits or compensation in return but that is not required by law and in any event, you have been promoted which is a benefit in its own right.

Anyhow, if you dispute this change and what to challenge it, you can indeed simply send an email to start with to advise the employer of your position on the matter. If necessary, you can also submit a formal grievance about if you need to make it more official.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hi Ben, thanks for this explanation. Just to be clear, unless I countersign the variation letter, this contractual change cannot be imposed or forced on me by the company? Thanks again
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Not quite – there is a think called implied acceptance, where you could accept this even if you do nothing. That would be if you start working under the terms of the contract anyway, such as doing the job, receiving the pay and so on and over time, usually a few months at least, it is implied that you have accepted the contract even if it has not been signed.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thanks for this Ben. The point you are making is a little bit of a worry, but when I got promoted to VP from1st April - which, as mentioned above, is on the back of a job levelling exercise across the wider Group, rather than a true step-up in responsibilities - I had not been made aware of the requirement to extend the notice period, and indeed this was only communicated to me last week Friday through the variation letter rather than in person by HR or my line manager. As I mentioned above, no contractual changes were discussed as part of my move to VP, which was for all intents and purposes is only a title change. On that basis, would the point of implied acceptance stand? Also, wouldn't my refusal of this change through the process you suggested above be enough? Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

It would be too early to consider implied acceptance at this stage, but now that you know about the notice term and assuming you do nothing about it and simply continue working in the new role, then eventually there will be implied acceptance, but it will be months away

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

You cannot just refuse it, yet continue working there without an official agreement that this clause is removed r changed - the refusal will only give you a limited window in which to challenge the employer over it t try and come to an agreement over a change

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thanks Ben. So if I refuse the change and there is an acknowledgment by HR that my notice period remains at 3 months, then it is fine. But if there is no response from HR or no follow-up, I can't just assume that the request has gone away? Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

There is no guarantee that the request will go away if you challenge it and the employer does nothing. Your rejection only has limited shelf life, allowin* you a reasonable period to formally challenge the employer. Doing nothing could mean the situation reverts to what the employer proposed, but in the end only a court or tribunal can determine if that was

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thanks Ben. So if I have understood correctly, following my email rejecting the change, if I do not hear further from HR, I should continually engage with them, challenge that change and get a formal response from them not requesting that change. Is that correct? Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

in a nutshell, yes

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thanks Ben. In a scenario where they continue pushing for this change but I continue to reject because we cannot find a mutually agreeable position, what would happen then? Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 days ago.

Then it may have to come down to a choice of either accepting the changes or at least negotiating them down, or leaving your employment by resigning and potentially claiming constructive dismissal