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Can my employer change my working hours?

By law, all employers must provide their employees with a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment – including normal working hours.

However, you may find your employer wants to change your working hours. So the question is: can they do this?

To begin, it’s important to note that an employment contract is a legally binding agreement.  Therefore neither an employer nor an employee can change the terms in the contract without the other’s consent, unless there is specific provision in the contract that allows them to. Many contracts of employment don’t have this, so if an employer were to change an employee’s hours of work without the employee’s agreement, they would be breaching the terms of the contract of employment. When this happens, the employee could potentially have the right to terminate their employment and pursue a claim for constructive unfair dismissal. 

So, if your employer wishes to change your contractual hours then they should seek your agreement and you would hope that to be the case. However, there is an option your employer can pursue which would not require your explicit agreement.

Can my employer change my working hours without my agreement?

There is an option that would allow your employer to change your hours without your agreement. If your employer can establish a sound business reason for the proposed change in working hours, then they would need to fully consult with you about this change. If you still can not reach an agreement, then your employer could provide the correct contractual notice of termination of your current contract with an offer of new employment on the changed hours. As long as your employer could establish a sound business reason for the change, that they had conscientiously and meaningfully consulted with the you and had acted reasonably, then any termination of the existing contract could be held to be fair.

The world of employment law can be tricky but understanding your rights as an employee is essential. If you feel you’re being treated unfairly by your employer or that they’re acting unlawfully then get in touch with our team today

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