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Ask Alice H Your Own Question
Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  Partner in national law firm with 25 years legal experience
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My employer has made a decision to close early on two days

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My employer has made a decision to close early on two days prior to Bank Holidays when l am contracted to work my full day. In the past these unworked hours have always been paid to me. This year they are expecting me to "pay these back" by working additional hours on another day. Am l obliged to accept this new arrangement?
My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

How long have you been employed in this position?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been employed over 5 years. However this is effecting all of my colleagues as well.

OK understood.

You employer cannot change your working hours without the discussing the matter with you and any change to your working hours must be agreed by you.

If you agree the change in hours your employer would usually put the changes in writing to you and may ask you to sign a document to confirm that you have agreed to the change.

If you do not agree the change but do not inform your employer AND you work under the new terms and conditions, this could be perceived that you have accepted the changes. If at a later date you decided to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal, the Tribunal will take into account what you have done to resolve the matter with your employer.

If you are unhappy with the changes your first step would be to discuss this informally with your employer. If this does not resolve the matter then you may wish to raise a formal grievance, using the company grievance procedures, or the Acas Code of Practice, if the company does not have grievance procedures in place. The benefit of doing this is that you may be able to resolve the matter quickly and may help you to re-negotiate the changes.

If an agreement cannot be reached you leave and claim constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal. But for a claim to succeed you would have to show that the changes to your contract are significant and fundamental.

An example of a significant and fundamental change would be a change to your normal working hours. Changes for 2 days prior to Bank Holidays may or may not amount to a significant and fundamental change - I think it could be argued both ways.

I realise this is not the best position for you but hopefully I've set out the legal position for your clearly so you can make an informed decision.

Please remember to rate my answer. I am happy to discuss the matter further of you wish.

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