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Employers changing working hours


Prominent Member
The company I work for was taken over by a bigger company last year and we were moved into larger offices amongst other travel groups. The other groups have different working hours and are open later than we are. The company are starting to make major changes eg management and supervisory redundancies and they are to reaply for the new positions (no doubt with lower wages), and I have heard that they are to change my departments working hours to match the others (call centre open till 10 PM). It might be a scaremonger rumour or not but can they do that without it being a completely new job?


Established Member
The answer is yes and no.

It depends upon whether the new role is so different to your current one that you would reasonably be entitled to say no and refuse it and claim to have been unfairly dismissed.

Then again there may be a specific clause in your contract which states that the employer is entitled to do this (change the hours).

I will give you an example: I work 40 hours per week (9-5'ish). My employer could be within their rights to ask me to work a 42 hour week 8-5'ish week. They would not, however, be entitled to ask me to work a 55 hour week on shifts. If they did I would be entitled to claim that they had breached my contract and had effectively dimissed me from the employ. In these circumstances I could then being a claim if Unfair Dismissal before an employment tribunal.

But yes you should ring ACAS for advice.


Distinguished Member
aye, its purely down to contract most of the time (providing they are not creating changes which break laws regarding working conditions)

my last employer got bought out and the new guys wanted to change people to a shift track system, constantly revolving and changing shift patterns.....they could do it with the new people, but they couldnt touch us old timers......unfortunately for themselves they went about things the wrong way and employed a bunch of people before realising they should have made us redundant first and completely replaced us all with new people...lol...so they got stuck with us....altho tbh it probably helped them more than they realised......however eventually they got rid of the entire department anyway just recently so they could move to central london and have nice centrally located plush offices with lots of posh restaurants nearby...helps to encourage the quality boss level employees....our jobs went in a split between manchester and india.......rather insanely the call centre stuff went to manchester, the admin stuff (post/faxes/web) went to india??....usually its the other way around..lol


Established Member
It largely depends on the circumstances, as others have said but I would wait for some notification before acting or indeed worrying. Takeovers, mergers etc always bring a number of rumours which rarely materialise


if they have already made changes to others by making certain positions redundant and creating new ones (which could be fairly similar in task, but with different hours, or at a different location) for those facing redundancy to apply for, i would think they would probably do the same thing again if they wanted to change your post, as thats an accepted fair way to implement those kind of changes

one thing to bear in mind however is that altho your contract may say your working hours can be changed to suit working needs, if you have been working there for some time and your hours have always been the same and never changed, or they haven't changed in a long time, those current hours could be considered as your standard contractual hours in implied terms, so whilst the paper says one thing, you do another, and it's what you work by which can count. for example, you would get one contract when you start, and it may say your pay rate is £15k pa, but you now get £19k pa even tho your contract doest reflect this

if your hours already vary, say sometimes you do 8-4pm and others 10-6pm then it might not be as unreasonable to change to another set of hours as you are used to them changing regularly which is in line with the contract, but if they were to change the hours so you are working at a time much earlier or later than you would normally do, such as 10pm finish, then that may be unreasonable

to cut a long story short, they can change the departments hours if they want to, and change anything else, but they should be following certain procedures, so they could just make your current post redundant as they no longer require staff to work fixed hours and instead have an opening for new posts with flexible hours, and if you don't like the new hours and they are going for it, you have to make the choice to leave/be made redundant, or put up with the change

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