How to change the terms of existing employment contracts
Author: Nick Robertson
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- Be clear about the reasons for making the change and ensure that there is a genuine business reason for it.
- Think about the process that will be needed and plan how long it will take.
- Consider whether an obligation to consult collectively could arise.
- Check if the employees' have been subject to a TUPE transfer.
- Check if there is a contractual clause that authorises the change, but be aware of the limits of this approach.
- If operating a contractual clause that authorises the variation, consult employees and act reasonably.
- Keep in mind that obtaining the employees' express consent will always be the safest way to make contractual changes.
- Ensure that the changes and the reasons for them are fully communicated to employees, whether or not you need their consent.
- If employees consent to the change, confirm the new terms and conditions to them in writing.
- If employees do not consent to the change, as a last resort, consider if dismissal and re-engagement may be appropriate.