Businesses and their operations are constantly evolving. As an employer, there will be times when you need to change an employee's Employment Contract to protect or enhance your commercial interests.
However, this must be carefully done to ensure you do not breach your employee's legal rights and spark an Employment Tribunal claim.
Can you change an employee's contract?
Yes, provided you follow specific procedures. The tricky thing is that it's a contract, and you must get your employee/s to agree to the changes.
There are three ways to amend an Employment Contract:
- Seek agreement to the changes from employees and dismiss those who refuse - dismissed employees may have claims for unfair dismissal and breach of contract
- Terminate the existing Employment Contracts and offer re-engagement on the updated terms - the employees may have claims for unfair dismissal and breach of contract, but the offer of re-engagement may mitigate their loss
- Impose the changes and leave it to the employees to respond - this is not the most advisable option as it may result in constructive dismissal claims
After reading the above, you're probably thinking, "this is a no-win situation". However, if you undertake the process correctly, you can (hopefully) get your employees to agree to the Employment Contract amendments you are proposing.
How to amend an Employment Contract and implement the changes
The first step is to inform all the employees and workers affected by the change and, in the case of a collective agreement, their representatives.
You must inform them about:
- The proposed changes
- Who might be affected
- Why the changes may be needed
- The timeframe for the proposed changes
- What other options have been considered
You must listen to your employees and discuss any ideas they put forward.
How much notice to give to your employee to change their contract?
Once your employee/s agree to the changes, you must provide them with a written statement of employment conditions which updates their terms and provide written notice to affected staff within one month notifying them of the changes. This includes any changes that relate to the employee's main contract terms and conditions of employment, such as working hours or job location.
Get legal assistance from LawBite
Amending an employee's Employment Contract can be risky. However, you can mitigate the risks by discussing what you want to achieve with our experienced employment law solicitors, who can advise you on successful options and strategies to achieve your goals.
LawBite has helped 1000s of businesses achieve their commercial ambitions and regulatory compliance. To find out how we can help your business with all employment law matters, book a free 15 minute consultation or call us on 020 3808 8314.