DP's employer reducing his hours, impacting our ability to afford our home. Please advise.

(42 Posts)
Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 16:43:07

Posted on aibu and advised to post on the work boards also.

DP has just been informed that his hours are being hugely reduced at work. He's on a 30 hour contract but has been working 55 hours a week for the past two years since he was hired. The understanding was that the 55 hours would be standard and consistent, so not to worry about what the contract says as he will always have the 55 hours.

This company branch has a new manager who has now decided to reduce him to just his contracted hours to save money, he's forced to accept that as per the terms in the original contract.

The problem is his amended wage won't cover our outgoings. We will lose our home eventually, we are safe for another month and a half maximum by which point we will have a baby of a couple of weeks old. I'm at home with a 15 month old and am about to give birth to our second in less than a month so the timing couldn't be worse. I can't realistically go back to work yet and by the time I can, we'll owe the landlord alot of money in arrears.

Where does he stand in terms of his rights? Is he screwed and just has to accept this because 'technically' he's only contracted to work 30 hours even though he's been working a minimum of 55 per week for the past two years.

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flowery Wed 27-Mar-19 17:06:19

If he’s been working consistently 55 hours a week for a long period then those are his contracted hours, established by custom and practice. It doesn’t however mean that they can’t be changed if there is a genuine business need to do so.

When you say he’s been employed two years, has he gone over the two year mark? If not, his employer could easily terminate his employment and offer him the new hours.

StormTreader Wed 27-Mar-19 17:08:36

"The understanding was that the 55 hours would be standard and consistent, so not to worry about what the contract says as he will always have the 55 hours. "

Does he have anything in writing that references this? Or mentions a "usual" work week of 55 hours?

juneybean Wed 27-Mar-19 17:24:39

What flowery said. As he's been doing the 55 hours consistently it's his implied contract hours and any amendment will need to be agreed between both parties.

NicoAndTheNiners Wed 27-Mar-19 17:32:40

I had my contract terms and conditions change drastically at work. Wasn't related to pay but to location and it did not have to be agreed by both parties. I was given a 30 day consultation and then it was changed. I went to the union and they said there was nothing I could do.

Not sure if this is always true but maybe ask acas or citizens advice for advice?

Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 18:34:29

He has nothing in writing about the 55 hours unfortunately, but has plenty of pay slips which total the amount of time worked consistently.

He's been employed there for exactly two years and one month.

The change has come about as the new manager wants to remove the night shift and place him on days, to save company money.

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Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 18:35:52

He has been given three days notice of the change. He found out this morning. Friday will be his final night shift. There has been no discussions or prior warning enabling him to prepare. It's come as a shock.

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Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 18:37:46

He's a replenishment supervisor for a large bargain superstore chain which just so happens to have poor ratings in terms of how they treat their employees.

They rely on a ridiculous staff turn over and my DP is one of three of the remaining group which started when the store opened. Everybody else has moved on due to poor management and unfair conditions within the workplace.

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Spaceunicorn6789 Wed 27-Mar-19 18:41:35

As others have said, if he's been doing 55 hours for two years then it's established custom and practice so they would need to consult with him to change his hours. He needs to get in touch with ACAS.

Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 18:46:59

He thinks he doesn't have a leg to stand on because his contract says nothing about working nights, yet he's been doing nights since day one.

The contract only says contracted to work 30 hours per week, even though he has been doing five 12 hour shifts per week since the beginning when the store opened.

He says that moving to 30 hours per week on day shift will means he takes home around under £1000 per month.

His previous wage based on nights was 1.5k per month after tax

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MitziK Wed 27-Mar-19 18:50:35

Time to submit a Universal Credit claim, as having children would probably (going by the amounts for two adults, at any rate) result in some money coming in that could top your family income back up to roughly the same level, but with the advantage that your DP isn't being worked into the ground in the process.

flowery Wed 27-Mar-19 18:56:11

It doesn’t matter if his contract says something else, if he’s consistently worked those hours for that long.

He needs to write saying further to their proposed change to his hours, he has taken advice wink and his current hours are his terms and conditions as established by custom and practice. As those hours are now contractual, his consent is needed in order to vary them, and he is not prepared to give consent at this time. Therefore his contractual hours will remain at 55 hours a week. Any reduction in his pay/refusal to allow him to work his hours will result in a claim for non payment of wages and breach of contract.

That ought to get them running somewhere for advice and then hopefully backing off, at least for a while until they can consult properly.

AnotherEmma Wed 27-Mar-19 18:58:06


Spaceunicorn6789 Wed 27-Mar-19 19:00:01

He thinks he doesn't have a leg to stand on because his contract says nothing about working nights, yet he's been doing nights since day one

I'm not trying to be rude, but multiple people have told you about implied terms and custom and practice since lunchtime when you posted your first thread but you seem to be ignoring that? I understand you are worried but why not take heed of what everyone else has said and tell him to tell his employer that and see what they say

MitziK Wed 27-Mar-19 19:00:13

Rough figures from the internet:

Couple over 25 = £500
Child element = £230. Plus the same again when DC2 is born = £460
Rent element = varies according to the LHA rate in your area. I'll guess it at £500

Gives a total of £1460

If DP earns £1000, you lose 63p (ish) of each pound (some waffle about it making any work pay, as it's not taken off pound for pound). So £630 is taken off the £1460.

This gives you potentially about £830 when the baby arrives, £600 for the couple of weeks before that.

Things will be tight until the claim is dealt with, but taking into consideration I'm NOT a benefits advisor or UC claims worker so could be wrong, you might find out that it's not too bad in the long run.

Get the claim in and see what happens.

MitziK Wed 27-Mar-19 19:01:54

Note: the figures are per month/assessment period, so would be pro rata at 1 child or 2 children.

Lexilooo Wed 27-Mar-19 19:02:37

He needs to speak to ACAS or his union urgently, and then get an application in for any benefits you are entitled to.

Is your home owned or rented?

He could also start looking for another job on full time hours.

Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 19:04:47

@flowery thank you! I will draft up a letter for him to hand in, echoing everything you've outlined there. He's just left for work so it's too late to have anything ready for when the manager arrives in the morning but he can go back in afterwards and hand it in if needs be.

Were looking into UC and CAB also as per advice we've received on our other thread.

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AnotherEmma Wed 27-Mar-19 19:05:33

There is a template letter on the link I shared

Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 19:08:03

@Spaceunicorn6789 I am taking heed of the customs and practice hours worked.

I relayed all of that to him when he got up, he wasn't familiar with it and so said he didn't feel he had a leg to stand on for the reasons I've relayed here.

He's feeling defeatist, as was I until I got the advice I've given. I'm drilling it into him that there are things which can be done if he follows the advice we've received.

I'm absolutely taking everything on board and am grateful for all of the advice given to me.

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Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 19:10:11

Thank you for the link emma, and to mitzi for the calculations

Rented private accommodation, Lexi.

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Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 19:14:33

I haven't had much chance to talk with him properly as he was out the door within an hour of getting up and showering so I was hurriedly trying to reassure him.

I can assure you I am relaying everything I've been told and have sent him some further information through text after he left which he can refer to when he goes on his break.

The customs and practice contractual hours grievance will be put in writing and handed to the manager as a matter of urgency.

Hopefully this will stall the managers plans to cull the night shift as of Friday and at the very least buy him some time.

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Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 21:39:24

This letter will be handed into management tomorrow. Opinions on how it sounds? Any changes needed? I've copied to both of my threads.

FTAO (managers name)

Further to your proposed change of my hours, i have sought adviceand been advised that my current hours are my terms and conditions as established by custom and practice.

As those hours are now contractual, by way of custom and practice having worked these hours consistently for over two years, I have been advised that adequate discussion, cooperation and consent is required in order to vary them ahead of any proposed changes.

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to be able to afford to amend my hours and wage to the extent which will result from these proposed changes so I am not prepared to give consent at this time. Making such large changes to my working schedule is going to render me unable to afford my accommodation, which will result in my two young children being made homeless.

I respectfully request that my contractual hours will remain at 55 hours per average week in the interim whilst we seek to find an alternative that works for all concerned. Any reduction in my pay or refusal to allow me to work my usual hours will regrettably result in a claim for non payment of wages and breach of contract.

I have been a loyal and dedicated member of the team since the very beginning and hope we can work together to ensure a fair and holistic outcome. Please understand that my position stems from a place of genuine concern and not wilful refusal or abject defiance.


(Dps name)

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StephsCaddy Wed 27-Mar-19 21:47:20

I have nothing constructive to add but just wanted to say how utterly shit your DP had been treated.

Worriedmumof2dc Wed 27-Mar-19 21:57:39

Thank you Steph, I agree he has.

He worked his backside off for that company and has been loyal since the start of the branch opening and this is how they repay him.

The new manager is all about saving money and looking good to the higher ups, he doesn't care about the employees underneath him

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