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Employer wants to reduce my hours

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  • Employer wants to reduce my hours

    I have worked for a UK IT company for 10 years as a marketer, and my employer has started talking about reducing my hours.
    I was given vague reasons for wanting to do this, but it was insinuated that it was expected I would be pleased about it as my partner is earning good money. I couldn't afford to do it so as it seemed to be presented as optional I turned it down, and at this point, I was told the management would review it, and I would be informed of their decision.
    I was told this 8 weeks ago and have asked for a status update 3 times but keep getting told they are still considering it or have not reviewed the situation yet. All verbal.
    My employer knows I have previously suffered from anxiety and still do.
    I don't know where I stand on trying to get an answer. It feels like they think if they keep me anxious, I will work harder or something.
    I know my employer has the right to cut my hours but can it be dragged out like this?

    Additional information.

    Previously, there were 3 people in my department and 3 in a related department. Everyone left but me, and now I take on everything for my department and some of the related departments' old work. I was the only employee of these 6 people; I was and continue to be part-time. The stress is real from that alone. I just can't take on the workload and produce work at the expected standard, and snide comments get made about my work whenever I put in less than 200% effort for a barely above NMW job. It was a real fight getting them to pay me minimum wage a few years ago.

    My employer has talked about outsourcing my role (which is weird because the company which he would outsource to is expensive, and I've been told previously by him he strongly wants to keep my job in-house as I know the business so well.

    The business has just received a few million in funding and, by all accounts, is doing brilliantly financially; they just have a policy of being super lean and efficient.
    I believe the timing on this is linked to my partner being contracted to 12 hours of highly specialised and skilled work which he had the Gaul to invoice the business for on completion. My partner then chased for the payment for 3 months. He's an ex-employee and despises the place.

    In the meantime, the new apprentice who sits next to HR and on the same bank of desks as me screams and swears at me throughout the day and takes every opportunity to dissect my life and show me up. HR thinks everyone in his proximity has a great dynamic. Additionally, I often hear my name related to things going wrong in the office I didn't do wrong; for instance, coffee was spilt on a leaving card, and somehow, I was blamed out loud by a senior manager in a leaving speech to the whole company. So I'm just a joke.

    While it is true my partner is earning good money, he's an absolute moron with it and just drives us deeper and deeper into debt.
    I'm feeling anxious and tearful all the time, and this apprentice girl is picking up on it and digging deeper.

    I'm trying to leave, had a few interviews but my anxiety kills them.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    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. Reducing your hours of work would fall into this category. 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 hours.
    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 which will be considered as a written grievance but make it clear it is such.

    If you do not tell your employer you disagree with a change, this will be taken to mean that you have 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 cannot 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 do not 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.

    In terms of the other issues you have raised then potentially there would be a cause to raise at least an informal grievance to start with but I would suggest that currently it would be best to deal with the potential reduction in hours first.
    If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

    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.

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