Can your employer force you to reduce your hours, working days or pay instead of making you redundant? Click to find out.
Whilst I cannot provide you with a definitive answer, what I can say is that, yes, in certain circumstances your employer can ask you to reduce your hours, working days or take a reduction in your salary so as to avoid redundancy. However, you should firstly consider whether you have given your employer consent to make this change. You can either give your express consent or, through custom and practice, your implied consent. There are occasions where your employer may have express consent within your employment contract, but this is quite rare.
Proposed Change By Your Employer
If there is no express term within your contract of employment, any such change proposed by your employer would amount to a variation of contract.
When an employer proposes a variation to an employee’s contract of employment, I would expect that employer to consult on the proposed changes first. This should be done through a period of consultation where the employer will explain why the proposed change is necessary, and to allow the employee to ask any questions/raise any concerns they may have.
It is certainly important, if during the consultation period, you have concerns, you set out what your concerns are and ask relevant questions to find out more.
What Questions Should You Ask During Consultation?
- You should ask your employer why the change is needed.
- If your employer is proposing a number of detrimental changes, you should ask your employer whether these changes all need to be implemented at once. It may be possible to seek some immediate changes but also put in place a transitional agreement for some changes to take place over time.
- You could ask your employer whether there is any incentive to accept the change. This does not have to be a financial benefit but you could put forward innovative ways to induce your acceptance.
- You could ask your employer to implement a future annual salary review to help you improve your situation.
What Are Your Employer’s Options If You Do Not Accept The Change?
If, at the end of the consultation process, you remain dissatisfied I would recommend you to obtain immediate legal advice and state your objection to the variation, communicating that you are working ‘under protect’. A failure to make your objection clear could see your silence or inaction as having accepted the change.
Ultimately, if you refuse the change and your employer concludes to implement the variation, without your consent, one of the following situations may arise:
- They could dismiss the employees who refuse to agree. If you are dismissed it may be that you can pursue a claim for Unfair Dismissal and (if no notice is given to you) Breach of Contract.
- They could terminate your existing employment contract and offer you re-engagement on the new terms. It may be that you would have a claim for Unfair Dismissal and again (if no notice is given to you) Breach of Contract.
- They could impose the change and leave it to you on how you decide to respond. This could possibly result in you pursuing a Constructive Unfair Dismissal claim.
How Can Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help You?
If you require advice on how to approach your employer’s request to vary your contract of employment, or if you are concerned that you may be dismissed, please call us for an initial free telephone consultation on 01522 440512 / or visit our Contact Us page; https://lincslaw.co.uk/contact/