Redundancy or Reduced Hours

I have been working full time for my company for over five years and have been on furlough since 1st April.

This coming Friday I have a meeting at work with my two directors. Originally casually over the phone termed as "a meeting to discuss your options" but I have subsequently received an official letter stating that this meeting is a "consultation meeting" and that I am "at risk of redundancy or reduced hours".

They have previously told me that come the end of the furlough scheme at the end of October staff including myself will be brought back in on drastically reduced hours (2 days instead of 5) or, if they do not agree to a new contract with the reduced hours, they will be made redundant. I'm not sure they should have told us this prior to consultation but still. As the company hopefully recovers, hours would be gradually increased back to full time.

My questions are:

1) If I choose the reduced hours option, can they force me to sign the new contract now? My concern with this is that I sign a contract for 60% fewer hours, they could five minutes later issue me with redundancy, now worth 60% less, before the ink is even dry on my new contract.

2) If I do sign a new contract for reduced hours now, how does this affect my furlough payments moving forwards? My concern here is that my furlough payments will then be calculated at 80% of two days per week rather than the usual five.

Thank you for reading and any advise or information that may help me navigate my options and make the best, well informed decision, truly gratefully received.
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Comments

  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,457
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    I would suggest that unless a contract specifies reduced hours from October, you think very carefully before signing it. You may be a very cautious person, but the tenor of your post suggests you do not trust your directors 
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Hi lincroft1710, thank you for your reply.  You're right about my potential mistrust.  There definitely are concerns around the actual outcome my company are trying to achieve vs what they say they are trying to achieve.  Far too many examples of them saying one thing and then doing another over the past 5+ years of working there to fully trust what they say now, especially in such difficult times.  
    Good advise about ensuring any potential new contract states that the change comes into force from 1st November.  Thank you.  
  • Does anyone know whether they can force me to sign a new contract now in July, for changes to contract that won't take place until November and whether they can make me redundant moments after signing a new contract (or moments after the contract comes into force) for fewer hours and lower pay.  My concern is that they're posing a lower hours contract simply so they can make me redundant immediately afterwards and pay me a significantly reduced redundancy payout as a result.  
  • sharpe106
    sharpe106 Posts: 3,559
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    If they make you sign a new contract and then make you redundant straight away, that would be classed as unfair, although they could wait a few weeks/months and then do it. Then you would have to claim the average pay over a set period of time.  How many reduced hours are you talking about? as if it is only a few would not be worth it really.
  • They've suggested it will probably be going from five days a week down to two.  So a 60% deduction in hours and pay.  
  • atjmm
    atjmm Posts: 14
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    I am in the same situation as you, and I have some, although not all, of the answers to your questions.
    Your employer can't make you sign the new contract if you don't want to, as the reduced hours constitutes drastically different terms and conditions. You can tell them you want to be made redundant if you wish instead.

    They are also required to give you a 4-week trial period if you do wish to try the reduced hours. During this time you or your employer can decide that it is not suitable, and you can decide to be made redundant on your old contract terms instead.

    What happens after this 4-week trial period, I am not sure and was in the process of looking for answers in the forum.
    I would guess that they can make you redundant on the reduced hours contract if they so wished?





  • Thank you for your reply atjmm, that's really helpful.  I didn't know that they have to give a four week trial period; I don't know if my directors do either.  I shall certainly look into this further before making any decisions or agreeing to anything.  I have my meeting with the directors after lunch so will report back afterwards and update with anything I find out about the four weeks trial period also. 

  • sharpe106
    sharpe106 Posts: 3,559
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    The 4 week trial period is for an different job so that both parties can see if it is for them or not. I don't think the same applies for a cut in hours.
  • Ah, thanks sharpe106.  I was beginning to wonder that myself from the little online research I've done on this since seeing atjmm's post.  
  • sharpe106
    sharpe106 Posts: 3,559
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    I would probably start looking for another job as it does not sound like the job will be that secure long term anyway.
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