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My employer has lost a contract for certain funding which means job losses for certain roles. Now my job is paid by other funding to what they actually lost. My boss has created more positions via the funding I am paid through which would give them the same job title as me. We have all been told to apply for our jobs or other jobs. My job hasn’t changed and neither have my working hours, but I have a colleague who knows there’s a position that’s been created near to the hours that she was doing but she doesn’t want that. She wants my post because mine is 10 hours more. My question is can they take hours off me and give them to her and give me the part-time position? It’s a bit odd and doesn’t make sense that my employer would give my job to someone else and give me less hours. Can an employer reduce my hours?
I note from your question that your employer has lost a contract for certain funding which could result in job losses. This is likely to be a redundancy situation. In order to avoid claims for unfair dismissal in a redundancy situation, your employer would need to follow a fair redundancy process. This will involve warning affected staff of potential redundancies, consulting with affected staff and exploring suitable alternative employment for redundant employees. The details of what a fair process will involve depends on the individual factual circumstances. It may, for example, involve reorganising positions and requesting applications from existing staff and it may also involve “bumping”, which is effectively a process whereby a redundant employee is given a non-redundant employee’s job.
If there is no redundancy situation and this is simply a reorganisation with no loss of jobs, this is slightly different. Your employer may want to vary the terms of a contract of employment because of changed economic circumstances or due to a reorganisation of the business such as this. Assuming that you are an employee then your existing contract of employment can only be varied with the agreement of both parties. If your employer is proposing to change your contractual terms then they should fully consult with you and explain and discuss the reasons for the change. If you do not agree to the changes then your employer may still try to impose a new contract unilaterally, but they will be in breach of your current contract and you may well have grounds to make legal claims against them. If you do not agree to any change in your contract and your employer dismisses you, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal and the strength of this claim would depend on the fairness of the process followed by your employer in attempting to secure your consent and eventually dismissing you.
I would advise you to make it clear to your employer that you do not agree to any change in your hours and that you wish to remain on your current contract. If this does not resolve matters and your employer attempts to change your contractual hours, I would advise you to take further specific legal advice on next steps and in particular in relation to a potential claim for unfair dismissal.
Please note that any claim for unfair dismissal must be submitted to an employment tribunal within three months of the termination of your employment and you would need to go through the Acas early conciliation process before any tribunal would accept your claim.
Should you require any clarification on the above points then please contact Tracey Guest of Slater Heelis LLP on 0161 672 1425.
*Helen Frankland has assisted with this answer.