A reminder of the complexities of trying to change employees Terms and Conditions.
This is something we often discuss with clients who would like to make variations to various T&Cs in their employee’s contracts or in company policies.
Personnel today highlight three important considerations in this article.
1. Even if you have a clause that states you can vary T&Cs – if it is ambiguous or not specific enough then relying on this to impose changes may land you with a tribunal claim.
2. Even if it isn’t written in the contract it doesn’t mean you can just change it – if it written as a contractual terms in a policy or a handbook, has become contractual by custom and practice or there is anything to indicate that it is potentially contractual then it needs to be treated as If it were in the contract – and this means you cant just impose changes without risking a tribunal claim
3. You need a clear strategy and plan for making changes rather than simply imposing an overnight change – you should ensure you ha a clear business case for making the changes, aim to consult with staff and try to get their agreement and if this isn’t possible and you want to push through the change anyway you should give the correct amount of notice of the change, which is in effect dismissing an employee from their old contractual T&CS and immediately re-engaging on the new ones. Whilst not fool proof, this does minimise your risks significantly.
…. and lastly don’t forget if there has been a TUPE situation, change to T&Cs cannot be made by reason of the TUPE but only for legitimate economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reasons.