I am a manager and have been undertaking additional duties on top of my existing duties for a year, following another manager in the team leaving. These duties are similar but not exactly the same and require different knowledge and add a new function to my duties. I have been paid for this monthly since starting. The company have now amended both job descriptions and amalgamated into one and following this new job description and being put through a job evaluation process, the company are telling me the grade of the new job, with additional duties and functions, is the same grade and pay as my original role. My question is whether this can be right? Can they clearly acknowledge the duties I’ve undertaken that are additional and pay me for this for a year, only to turn around and say they will no longer pay me and I have to do them anyway?
Job evaluations can be complex, but are often driven by an employer’s desire to ensure that the process is efficient and effective as an organisation and that everyone is being paid the correct salary for the job they do – job evaluations are normally undertaken company-wide to ensure consistency across all departments and you should check that this is what had happened and who has undertaken it. Job evaluations can result in restructures within a department or more widely, and employers ought to inform employees of any such proposed changes.
Where the employer decides that, as a result of that job evaluation, there is a reduced need for particular roles, or a reorganisation is needed, then they should consult with affected employees.
In your case, your employer has determined that the duties in question do not necessitate two managerial roles and can instead be completed by one managerial role, being your role plus the additional responsibilities you have been undertaking, but without being paid an extra allowance for doing it.
Your role has not been eliminated and so you are not at risk of redundancy, but there has been a reorganisation whereby your job description has been permanently changed to include additional duties, but without the additional payment and the question is whether your employer can do this contractually or whether this amounts to a breach of contract enabling you to leave and claim constructive dismissal.
It is likely that your contract will be written in fairly broad terms allowing your employer to vary your duties, but they would still be expected to consult with you about this before imposing the changes.
It appears that the issue which concerns you most is the employer’s decision that the role remains at the same grade and pay as your original managerial role. Whilst this may have been a reasonable outcome of the job evaluation process, especially if it was done by a properly qualified third party, it is entirely reasonable for you to ask for more information about this decision and, if appropriate, to ask for it to be reviewed. You may find it useful to look at the pay grading and salaries offered for the same role at other employers when assessing whether the employer’s decision is reasonable.
I suggest you ask the business to provide full details about their job evaluation, the rationale for reducing the roles from two to one, and why they consider the new, enhanced role does not warrant a higher grade or salary. You could also ask them why they have not consulted with you about the duties or the workload, grading and salary. If you are dissatisfied with their response, you could raise a formal grievance. If you believe that the additional workload is excessive, or indeed, if you have raised concerns about this previously, then you should raise that with the business also, and ask them for support.
Ultimately, if you believe that their failure to consult, imposition of these duties without extra pay and the process they have followed has the effect of you losing trust and confidence, then provided you have been employed for more than two years then you could consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal, but you should take specialist legal advice before doing so as this area of the law is complex. It should be a last resort and it is always better to try and resolve issues with your employer rather than litigating.
*Maria Hoeritzauer is a Partner at Crossland Employment Solicitors.