I have worked at my company for 24 years: 18 years full time and the last six part time/reduced hours over three days. My work wants to increase this to five days due to increased workload. I have been told I can do the five days, earning less as I will be over the tax threshold and paying more in childcare; take some goodwill money and leave; decline and be dismissed as it is a restructure and does not attract a redundancy payment. Isn’t this a redundancy though?
If the current working pattern has been agreed and is part of the contractual terms, then it can only be altered with the employee’s agreement.
If the employer dismisses an employee for disagreeing with proposed changes to a contractual term, then they may have a claim against them for unfair dismissal, depending on the process the employer has followed in dismissing the employee.
If the current working pattern is not part of contractual terms, then the employee may have more difficulty resisting the proposed changes. I recommend that the employee checks exactly what is in their contract, as it may include express reference to the agreed working pattern. In the event the employee is unhappy with the changes, I recommend speaking to the employer about her concerns (particularly in respect of her finances and childcare commitments) and if the matter is not resolved, she should submit a grievance.
In respect of a ‘restructed’ position, I am unclear what this refers to and it may be helpful for the employee to ask the employer to explain what they mean by this. If they are saying the work has been restructured, this is unlikely to amount to a redundancy situation as there has been no reduction in the type of work undertaken, in fact it appears to be the opposite. It is not the hours taken to perform that particular work which determines if the role is redundant, it is whether there is a requirement for work of a particular kind. If the type of work the employee has been undertaking still exists, the role is not redundant.
*Helen Frankland assisted in this answer.