Cut in hours

I recently underwent a business consultation.  Initially it was proposed that my position was at risk of redundancy.

After my first consultation, I was told my position was not being made redundant, that I would be asked to reduce my contractual hours from 36 to 28 per week.

After rejecting the proposal on the basis of financial loss and detrimental impact new rota would have, the company stated that they would impose the changes upon me.  They felt I had refused what was ‘suitable alternative employment’.

I know that if a position is being made redundant, an employer is legally obliged to offer this before redundancy.  

My question is, that if my position was not being made redundant, then why was I being offered suitable alternative employment?

The proposal was to reduce my contracted hours to mitigate redundancy.  Something that I have to consent to and not something they can unilaterally vary.

Comments

  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,459
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    It sounds as if your role only needs 28 hrs per week to fulfil its requirements, the employer has offered to keep you on these terms. The alternative would be to make you redundant and spread your role amongst other employees
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • this may come down to what argument they put forward, dismissal and re-engagement is not the same as redundancy or offer of suitable alternative employment so it needs to be clear what process is being followed.

    if it is redundancy, the employer's argument is that there is a diminishing requirement for the role, but this is suitable alternative employment as a redundancy avoidance measure.

    They may look to use a variation clause in a contract (though it does not sound like this is the case). This site gives information on variation clauses.

    https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2018/how-can-i-vary-a-contract/

    If they are using dismissal and re-engagement they do not need to rely on a variation clause or redundancy, the employer needs to show that there is a pressing need (legally called Some Other Substantive Reason)  and that they have acted reasonably and fairly. There is info on fire and re-hire via CIPD here, 

    https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/terms-conditions/fire-rehire-employer-guidance


  • It sounds as if your role only needs 28 hrs per week to fulfil its requirements, the employer has offered to keep you on these terms. The alternative would be to make you redundant and spread your role amongst other employees
    You would think this the case.  Redundancy was not given as an option to me.  I applied for voluntary redundancy and it was rejected.  I’ve been refused redundancy on the grounds they consider it suitable alternative employment.  My counter to this has been that to mitigate against redundancy, you have asked me to reduce my contractual hours, not offered me an alternative role and that redundancy should have followed upon my refusal.





  • if it is redundancy, the employer's argument is that there is a diminishing requirement for the role, but this is suitable alternative employment as a 
    Redundancy avoidance measure
    This is where I am confused.  The initial proposal was to reduce my contracted hours from 36 to 28.  I have an appeal letter with that stated and now have they amended to my contract (which I have clearly stated I refuse).  So in my mind, because this is an variation in my contract to mitigate against redundancy, my refusal should have been met with redundancy (which I was told was not an option and also denied voluntary redundancy).

    What has transpired is that they have coined it as suitable alternative employment.   the role need has diminished, but it’s still required and there are hours available.  The only thing changing is the hours worked per week.  This doesn’t strike me as alternative employment.  What it has done has placed them in a position whereby they have refused my right to a redundancy package as they deem it reasonable.

    I don’t know if I’m missing a grey are covered by work of a particular kind or some other form of legislation during a restructuring, that allows them to offer my job to me as suitable alternative employment,  because that’s all it is.  My job with 8 hours less per week.  If there is, they’ve been savvy.  

  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,418
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    What does your current contract say about hours?
    Are your standard hours 36 per week?
    Or are you standard hours 28 per week with 8 hours overtime?

    Are you being offered any one-off compensation in return for the reduction in hours?
    Are you being offered a return to the full hours after some set time period?
    Are you protected in the event of future redundancy being calculated on the 28 hours or 26 hours?
    Are you being allowed to take alternative employment for the time that is now released by the reduced hours?
    Do the reduced hours have a pattern that might facilitate alternative work elsewhere? 
    A big difference between now doing 28 hours in four days (7 hours days) from 5 days at 7.2 hours (36 per week) or would the change be 5 days at 5.6 hours per day?
    The latter will make it very difficult to get any work elsewhere and (quite possibly) reduce the value in personal gain from the reduced hours.  (This personal gain is rather more nuanced - some would prefer four-day week, some - perhaps with school-age children - might find the shorter days rather convenient.)
  • What does your current contract say about hours? Contracted to work 36.  No clause.  Only thing they can alter is shift pattern.

    Are your standard hours 36 per week? Yes

    Or are you standard hours 28 per week with 8 hours overtime? No

    Are you being offered any one-off compensation in return for the reduction in hours? No

    Are you being offered a return to the full hours after some set time period? No. Restructuring to organisation and diminished need for job role.

    Are you protected in the event of future redundancy being calculated on the 28 hours or 26 hours? Working under protest and raised a grievance, so yes (I think)

    Are you being allowed to take alternative employment for the time that is now released by the reduced hours? I haven’t been told I could not

    Do the reduced hours have a pattern that might facilitate alternative work elsewhere?  Not without detrimental impact to work-life balance. On shifts 

    A big difference between now doing 28 hours in four days (7 hours days) from 5 days at 7.2 hours (36 per week) or would the change be 5 days at 5.6 hours per day?
    The latter will make it very difficult to get any work elsewhere and (quite possibly) reduce the value in personal gain from the reduced hours.  (This personal gain is rather more nuanced - some would prefer four-day week, some - perhaps with school-age children - might find the shorter days rather convenient.)
    I’ve put the answers next to your questions, to try not muddy my answers 
  • The arguments on the merits come down to the answer to the question is this suitable alternative employment? This is a subjective argument which needs to take into account factors on the role and personal circumstances. This is something a tribunal would need to decide. 

    Note if you are already working the new reduced hours, even if you have said it is under protest, this can be shown as evidence of acceptance by your employer. Also, the clock is running on the 3 months you have to submit a tribunal claim. you may find it hard to argue at tribunal you should be made redundant if you are working the new hours already
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,298
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    Is it possible to do your role in less hours?  Or are they expecting the same amount of work done in less time?  Is there a reason it can't be done in less time (by you or by someone else?)

    Basically is it simply a cost saving measure with the same amount of output expected but for less money?  If so I'd be refusing to work and walk away claiming unlawful dismissal (or whatever it is called.)
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202
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    The arguments on the merits come down to the answer to the question is this suitable alternative employment? This is a subjective argument which needs to take into account factors on the role and personal circumstances. This is something a tribunal would need to decide. 

    Note if you are already working the new reduced hours, even if you have said it is under protest, this can be shown as evidence of acceptance by your employer. Also, the clock is running on the 3 months you have to submit a tribunal claim. you may find it hard to argue at tribunal you should be made redundant if you are working the new hours already
    Hi OP

    I agree with the above post, and:

    Ring ACAS, they are very helpful. Prepared questions and answers to questions they may ask, EG, your contract, what was offered, any trianig offered, what you said, what you are hoping for etc etc - so you get the most out of the first call.

    Good luck
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