Employment Law

Changing the terms of your contract

Employment contracts are increasingly complex, making negotiations with your employer a delicate and difficult process. Whether you are an employee in the process of joining a new employer, or are being asked to change your existing terms of employment, we can advise you of your rights to give you the best chance of getting the contract you want.

Contracts of employment cannot usually be changed by the employer without your agreement. If the change is made without your agreement, but is to your benefit (such as a pay increase) then an Employment Tribunal is more likely to think your employer has acted fairly.

In some cases a contract will contain a written clause permitting your employer to make other changes from time to time. This kind of term will be subject to your employer’s general duty not to behave in a way that damages the trust and confidence you have with them.

Where changes are made to your contract, employers must give you written notification of the change within four weeks.

An unauthorised change will be a breach of contract, and the fact your employer has given you notice of the change will not make it lawful. You can work under protest by making it clear to your employer you do not agree with the change. However, the longer you tolerate the change without taking action, the greater the chance you will be seen as having accepted it.

Sometimes, a change is so significant that it affects the core of your contract. You should try and resolve the issue by speaking to your employer informally or by raising a grievance first but there will be times when you have no alternative but to think about resigning.

It is important you get in contact with us as soon as you are told your contract may be changing so you can get the help and advice you need to decide the best course of action to follow.