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How to amend an employee contract

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First4Lawyers, July 09, 2018

Whether the decision to amend an employee contract is the employer’s or the employee’s, the amendment needs to follow legal guidelines.

Reasons to amend an employee contract include:

  1. Flexible working request
  2. Change in responsibilities
  3. Change in salary or contracted hours
  4. A disciplinary hearing result
  5. Union action

If you feel the change is too complex to do yourself, or you just want extra legal advice about employment law, First4lawyers can help. Our experienced business law solicitors can provide guidance on all employment matters, including contracts, policies and procedures.

When can an employee’s contract change?

An employment contract can be amended at the request of either the business or the employee. There are many possible reasons:

  • An employer may need to make changes based on wider business reorganisation, or a shift in the businesses finances, for example. In this case, an employee’s hours or earnings might need to be reduced.
  • An employee may request changes to their contract supported by flexible working legislation. This could include changes to their hours, place of work, or weekly structure, or could be a request for a different wage or holiday allowance.

Discussing the contract changes

To start the process of making the amends, there are slightly different steps to take depending on who is requesting the changes.

  • Employer request
    An employer can’t change an employee’s contract without their consent. So, you first need to sit down with the employee or any union representative to discuss the changes.

    You must cover three main areas: what the changes are, why they’re being made, and allowing the employee to suggest alternatives.
  • Employee request
    An employee can demand certain contract changes be made if they fall under their statutory rights. If they aren’t related to their statutory rights, an employee needs to talk to their employer about what changes they want and the reasons for them.

Changing an employment contract

Once an agreement has been made, the changes can be made in the employee’s contract. The details need to be edited into the employee’s written statement, which should be read and understood by the employee.

Understanding the ‘written statement’

The written agreement of employment particulars is a legal document that must be given to any employee who will work for more than one month. It’s not a contract, but should include all the main conditions of employment.

The written statement must include:

  • The names of the business and the employee.
  • Employee job title and a description of their role.
  • Their start date.
  • How much the employee will be paid, and how often.
  • The hours of work, and the working structure (e.g. will the employee work nights or unsociable hours?).
  • The amount of holiday allowance given, and whether bank holidays are included in the allowance.
  • The location of their main workplace, as well as anywhere else they may need to work.
  • How long the notice period is.
  • Details of the pension agreement.
  • How to carry out a complaint against the business or another employee.
  • Any collective agreement made between the business and a union or association.
  • If the role is temporary or fixed-term, include details about when the employment will end.

You also need to write to the employee within a month of writing the new agreement, explaining what changes have been made.

When the changes aren’t the sort of thing you’d put in a written agreement, perhaps if they are more general and less specific, there needs to be an update to the company handbook or any other source of information, so the employee can access the changes and read information about it.

If a collective agreement has been made with a union or association, write to all employees affected by the changes (whether or not they are a member of a union), explaining what the changes are, and edit their written agreements accordingly.

Have a dispute to solve, or want to learn more?

Disputes can happen when negotiating changes in a contract. Whether you’re an employer or employee with a dispute, First4lawyers can help. Get in touch with us, or find out more on about our legal services for business

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866