There are occasions when you may want to change the general duties or a role of an employee. So, how do you go about doing this? In our guide, we’ll explain what’s involved and how you can go about the transition.
Change of job description
Legally, you’re able to make changes to a job description and the daily activities of a role. This is as long as there’s a solid business reason for it. You should ensure your employees are familiar with the best process for implementing these changes. After all, you don’t want to undertake them in an unreasonable way that disadvantages your staff. If you want to make alterations to a role, it’s a good idea to include provisions for this within the employment contract. This can take the form of:
- A flexibility clause, allowing for a change of general duties.s
- A mobility clause, allowing for a change in place of work.
- Or a variation term, which lets you involve a change of a job description without consultation.
In these situations, the change can happen without prior consent from the employee. However, it’s always best practice to consult with them beforehand so they’re aware of any important developments. Remember, these clauses mustn’t breach contractual duties of trust and confidence. They also shouldn’t discriminate against any individual.
Employment law and a change of role
In situations where you consider a change necessary, but haven’t included any such clause in the contract allowing for this, you can still implement the change. But this is so long as you receive consent from the employee beforehand. To accept, they can respond in writing or imply it—this is through continuing work without raising any complaints. However, you may still come up against some opposition. A common question from employees in this situation is: “Can my employer change my job description?” For job description changes, employees have rights. And if the employee does not agree to the terms, they should inform you in writing. They’re also entitled to find further legal advice.
Alternatively, you can dismiss the employee as part of some other substantial reason (SOSR), and then re-engage them with the new provisions. But this option is a last resort. Remember that changing the terms of employment could lead to a breach of contract. As a result, approach the issue with care so you can aim for a positive outcome. If the expected change is going to affect the pay, benefits, or general rights of the employee, it’s advisable you compensate for any resulting loss from the change. You should also provide plenty of notice so they’re able to prepare. If the role is to change significantly, evaluate if the current pay does require changing to reflect this. Employees reserve the right to bring claims for unfair constructive dismissal. This is if they’re able to prove the changes to their employment have significantly affected their working day to the point they no longer feel capable of working.
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