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Changing Contracts of Employment

changing contracts of employment

A contract of employment is a legally binding document. However, it is likely that over time there will be a need to consider changing contracts of employment due to situations arising that were not foreseen when the original contract was drafted.

The reasons behind changing contracts of employment would normally concern business reasons for example, a requirement for the inclusion of restrictive covenants preventing employees soliciting clients away from the business, or a serious downturn in business needing employees to accept a reduction to their individual wages http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3971.

Existing employees need to provide their consent to their contract of employment changing. It also worth pointing out that a contract of employment exists even where it has not been issued to the employee in writing. The process concerning changing contracts of employment involves consultation to explain the desired changes and further consultation to overcome any objection to the employee agreeing to their contracts of employment changing.

Objection to Changing Contracts of Employment

In our experience objections from employees to changing contracts of employment can normally be overcome. However, from time-to-time an isolated employee may simply refuse any changes being made to their individual contract. Assuming that the employer wants to continue with their plans then there are various options open to them. These include simply implementing the change. This method will be in breach of contract and therefore changing contracts of employment this way will incur a high risk of legal action. However, if the changes are not objected to they will become accepted and therefore binding.

Alternatively, where the the employer may have to consider dismissing the employee, for ‘some other substantial reason’ (“SOSR”) and offering a new contract inclusive of the revised and desired changes. If the employee does not accept the revised contract they will be dismissed for SOSR which is a potentially fair reason for dismissal (Employment Rights Act 1996). http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/section/98

Need some help?

If you are an employer considering changing contracts of employment then we can help.    Our team of experts has significant experience in advising clients of changing contracts of employment. EBS Law has successfully defended employer clients in the Employment Tribunal who have dismissed employees for refusing the change of contract.

For further information on this topic or our retained employment law service contact our team on 01625 87 4400


EBS House, 30 Brownlow Close, Poynton, Stockport, Cheshire SK12 1YH

Registered Address: 17-19 Park Lane, Poynton, Stockport, Cheshire SK12 1RD Company No. 05239905


Employers Employment Law Advice, Support Services and Insurance primariliy for businesses in the Greater London area.

Also supporting business owners throughout Cheshire, Manchester, the North West of England and across Great Britain


Tel: 01625 874400      Fax: 01625 874422

Email: enquiries@ebslaw.co.uk

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