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Change of working hours

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  • Change of working hours

    Hi Everyone,

    Just hoping for some advice.

    I was invited into a meeting room at the start of the week and informed verbally by my manager that they have decided to restructure my team (2nd line) with another (1st line) and merge them into the same shift pattern (1st line shift pattern) in early Jan 2019, gave me a new job title and change the person that I report to. I had two letters given to me. one for the change of job title and one for the change of manager.

    The teams are 1st line support and 2nd line support. I work in 2nd line support.

    Current 1st line shift:
    shifts are across 7 days with various times. Weekdays: 8-17, 10-19, 13-22. Weekends: 8-17, 13-22.

    Original 2nd line shifts (When I first started) 2nd Line shift:
    Weekday only. 8-17, 9-18. On call at weekends on a rotation basis 1 in 5 weekends. 9-16 Saturday and Sunday. (Weekend on call was abandoned about 5 months ago). Weekend work involved taking calls from 1st line support if they needed help - to escalate problems. I must have been called about 7 times during the 24 months that I was on call.

    Current 2nd line shifts/situation.
    There is currently me and another person in 2nd line support. The other person is leaving in about 6 weeks. My manager said that someone from 1st line will be joining the 2nd line team and that they will also be employing another person for 2nd line support. We currently work 8-17 Monday to Friday and no on call work at the weekends.

    The 1st line team have 6 staff.

    My contract states the following....
    6. Hours of work
    Your normal hours of work are 40 hours per week.

    You will be required to work such additional hours as the requirements of the job dictates.

    No additional payment will be made in respect of additional hours worked during the working week or additional hours worked at weekends, unless authorisation is made in advance by your line manager.

    The main reason for this post is that I don't want to work the new shifts. So I have a few questions.

    1, Don't they have to put the shift change in writing, that they intend to change my shifts? If so can I leave it until the last minute to point this out to them so that I don't have to work the shift on a technicality?
    2, Don't they have to have a consultation period? How long should this period be?
    3, There are no explicit terms in my contract to say that they can change my shift pattern so can I decline their offer to work their shift? (I have worked the same shifts since working there(2.5 years))
    3, Can I opt out of working Sundays?

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by bigontv123; 18th November 2018, 13:52:PM. Reason: To make the working shifts more clear
    Tags: None

  • #2
    What shifts do you currently work ?
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    • #3
      Hi Amethyst.

      When I first started the job it was 8-17. Every 5th week would change to 9-18 and also included working from home on call at the weekend. Any additional hours worked at the weekend would be taken as lieu time.

      About 6 months ago they changed it so that I only work 8-17 Monday to Friday. no more 9-18 or weekend on call work.


      Last edited by bigontv123; 18th November 2018, 14:02:PM. Reason: Make the working shifts more clear.


      • #4
        Before I can help can you answer me the following:

        1. Does your contract have a clause in it that allows your employer to vary its terms?

        2. Does your contract detail your working hours/shift patterns or just as you have posted that “your normal hours of work are 40 hours per week” without any defining of when those hours will be worked?

        3. Is there any reference in your contract to shift working?

        Just as general guidance in regard to changes to terms and conditions of employment then I offer the following:

        Your employer needs to follow a fair process to implement a significant change in your terms and conditions if they do not want to face a claim for breach of contract. So, they need to fully consult with you and agree any changes.

        If you do not agree the law does recognise that employers have to adapt to changing market conditions, and that sometimes the contract of employment must be varied to reflect this.

        If your employer has given reasonable and due consideration to objections and alternative suggestions that you put forward, but deem those suggestions to be unworkable, then they can terminate your original contract and offer a new one in its place on the new shift pattern.

        If you do not agree to the changes, then you must make it clear to your employer. You should do this in writing, sign and date your letter, and keep a copy. This letter will count as a written grievance.

        If you don’t tell your employer you disagree with a change, this will be taken to mean that you’ve accepted it.

        You should do this straight away, or as soon as possible after the change has been introduced.

        You can continue to work 'under protest' for a while but you can’t do this indefinitely without taking further action. This may mean making a claim to an employment tribunal, or, in some extreme situations, resigning from your job and claiming 'constructive unfair dismissal’.

        If you don’t want to do either of these things, you may eventually have to accept the changes to your contract. There are strict time limits for making a claim to an employment tribunal.

        Your answers to my questions would be helpful in me being able to provide some more specific guidance to your situation.
        I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
        If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.

        You can’t always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

        You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

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