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Change of duties/reduction in hours

(6 Posts)
onadietcokebreak Mon 07-Sep-09 20:02:07

Advice for a friend required please.

Started work June 08 for a company on a 18hrs over 4 days doing a front facing job.

Increased hours approx 7 mths later to 32 hrs per week over 4 days because other colleague moved to do her role away from front facing. Doesnt think was given new contract but does have a letter confirming new hours.

Company have now said they want her full time but she declined as wanted to keep 4 days. Company not happy she said no to 5 days as the way they put it to her was from x date you will be working 5 days a week and when she said she couldnt commit to extra day but would help out on occassion when normal cover on leave they were not happy.

Company have now agreed a new employee on full time contract to do friends job and offered my friend 18hrs per week in a other role.

Has there been any breach of employment law?

She isnt keen on new role but would be happier if it was on 32hrs over 4 days as currently doing. Financially she will be penalised if hours reduced.

The company will not entertain new girl doing the vacant day on front facing role and other hours in office.

Can anyone advise a way forward for my friend on resolving this issue?

flowerybeanbag Mon 07-Sep-09 20:11:32

Your friend's employer can't just announce they are increasing her hours and then when she refuses (as she is within her rights to do) just employ someone else to do her job and forcibly remove her from it and reduce her hours at the same time.

Read here about what an employer needs to do in order to change an employees terms and conditions, including consultation, and here about what happens if the employee refuses.

As you can see, although it may sometimes be possible to force a change through, it would need to be after consultation and would involve dismissing someone and reengaging them, risking a tribunal claim if it's not done right or justifiably.

Also have a read here about constructive dismissal. If an employer commits a fundamental breach of the contract or tries to force an employee to accept unreasonable changes to their terms and conditions without their agreement, that might be constructive dismissal.

I would suggest your friend write to them formally, reminding them that they don't have the right to change her term and conditions of employment without her consent, and she is not giving that consent either to the different job or to the reduction in hours/pay. As far as she is concerned her terms and conditions are for 32 hours a week, on £x salary, doing x job. She could also say that she would consider any attempt to forcibly change those terms and conditions as constructive dismissal.

onadietcokebreak Mon 07-Sep-09 20:28:16

Thanks Flowery I was hoping you would be around tonight!

Does it matter that her contract was originally for 18hrs? The fact she has been doing the revised hours for a considerable period now makes me think it wouldnt.

I have showed her your post and she is very grateful. I have also referred her to Acas and will help her write a letter to employer

flowerybeanbag Mon 07-Sep-09 20:37:44

No it doesn't matter about her original contract. A letter confirming new hours is a contract amendment, no new contract needs to be issued for those to be her contractual hours. Unless the letter said it was temporary or something, then it's a contract variation, and by the sounds of things those have been her hours for quite some time now anyway.

onadietcokebreak Mon 07-Sep-09 21:09:27

Thanks Flowery. Thats lovely. Fingers crossed for a speedy resolution.

onadietcokebreak Mon 07-Sep-09 21:37:03

Flowery can you have a quick look please? Is this ok to begin with? It will be spell checked obviously before it is sent!

Dear Mr .......

I am writing with reference to the conversation that we had on x date regarding your wish for me to work 37.5 hrs Monday to Friday and my subsquent decision to decline your offer. You have since told me the only way company could accomadate me working part time would involve working 18hrs per week and a change of job role. You then said you would be employing another person who could work full time. On x date I was advised by xxxxx you have engaged another person to carry out my current role full time from x date.

At no point have I agreed to a change of my terms and conditions of employment or a different job role. I have since taken advice regarding this situation.

I understand that you don't have the right to change my term and conditions of employment without my consent. I would like to clarify that I do not consent to a different job or to the reduction in hours/pay. My terms and conditions of employment are 32hrs per week on £6 per hour 8hrs per day (excluding lunch break) Monday to Thursday.

I would consider any attempt to forcibly change those terms and conditions as constructive dismissal.

Please can you acknowledge receipt of this letter within 7 days of receipt.

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