How can an employer improve the chances of an employee agreeing to a change in terms and conditions?

An employer will require an employee's prior consent to change an existing term or condition of the employment contract, unless it has reserved the contractual right to do so. In order to facilitate the employee's agreement, the employer may consider offering a benefit in exchange for acceptance of the new term or condition, such as an additional day's holiday, a small pay increase or a new bonus structure. However, this may not always be practicable, particularly if the employer's reason for wanting to implement the change is a need to save costs.

In all circumstances, as part of the consultation process, the employer should explain clearly the reasons for the change and the likely consequences if the change is not made. For example, the organisation may have to embark on a redundancy exercise, which could result in dismissals. Employees are more likely to accept the change if they understand that there are genuine business reasons for it, particularly if the alternative could be redundancies among the workforce.