Can work change your contract without you knowing or signing it?

I know this isn't really about endo. But because I have it I've had to move to a different department in work and they have changed my contract from a 28hrs to 5. I've not signed anything and was unaware of this. I've just been signed off for 3 weeks and just had a phone call I won't be getting sick pay because I only have a 5hr contract and the first 3 shift off u don't get paid for? So I won't get any money? Can they do this? Just can't believe that they can do this and get me into debt because I can't pay my bills.

Feeling lost. Any help I'd be grateful for


8 Replies

  • It sounds dodgy to me, do you have your old contract? does it have an end date or a part saying that it is ongoing?

    I would take this to the Citizens Advice Bureau and get it checked out

  • Hi Saralou,

    I'm not qualified in this sort of thing but I agree with Crystal Willow. Sounds very dodgy. Even if your original contract says something like they have the right to reduce your hours whenever they like for whatever reason, it doesn't necessarily mean that that is legal even if you signed it. I once learnt that there were things in my contract that had no legal basis and would never stand up in court but employers try these things in the hope that we don't know any better and just go along with things.

    Go to citizens advice or ACAS.

    Your question is very much about endo. Your employer is abusing the fact that you have it.

    I hope there's someone on the forum who knows more about this than I do and can give you better answers.

  • Hi Saralou,

    It's against the law to change your contract without giving you notice first.

    I would keep a diary as well. I would ask them to put it in writing because they might say you verbally agreed to the contract as well so be very careful when speaking to them on the telephone. I would write down the conversation with a time in your diary.

    I would get legal advice.

    I hope this helps. (((Hugs)))

  • No they can't. If they offer to change it they should either buy it from you or give you a bonus or something similar. It is against the law to change it without your consent and especially without your signature. X

  • if they change your contract you have to sign the new contract and they have to give you a copy of the new contract. I would def go to CAB and get their advice. If they are not willing to pay you sick pay ask your employer for an SSP1 form and take it to your job centre with your sick line and the government will pay your sick pay for you. Hope you get it sorted soon x

  • Hi, Im not sure what type of contract you currently have but you need to check exactly what your current contract says (even then I'd check what they have written is actually legal!). Are you a permanent member of staff? if so an employer cannot change your contract without negotiation or consultation. Therefore you are still on your old contract. Your new contract would only come into affect without you signing it if you actually carried out the new role (as you are deemed to have accepted it even if you have not actually signed it if you are doing the role).

    Did you request the change or was it their idea? If you made the request you are not in such a strong position however you should definitely have been made aware that the change included different hours (as Im presuming you wouldnt have accepted if you had been made aware)

    Read the information on the link below. If you need any further advice just ask as its hard to give detailed advice without more info. (p.s. ex HR Manager before I had to leave through endo!)

  • Hi Saralou,

    Heck! I'd be SERIOUSLY ticked off, if I were you! Abusive employers just get my goat - no end! I can empathise, as I've had personal experience. It STINKS to hear that someone can do something that causes pain, upset and worry at a time when you are already feeling vulnerable and unwell. In this day and age we would hope for a little enlightenment and understanding from employers - clearly some still reside firmly in the "Feudal Period"!!

    Anyway, I can offer a little information in an attempt to assist you. As far as I am aware (and I have checked with ACAS) an employer cannot change a contract without having an employee's consent to it. In fact, according to law, neither employer nor employee can unilaterally change a contract without agreement. The ONLY time a contract can be changed without agreement between employer and employee is because of a CHANGE IN THE LAW - however, even this would have to be explained beforehand.

    Your working hours are included in your CONTRACTUAL TERMS. This means that LEGALLY they can only be changed following discussion and agreement between you and your employer. If an employer is attempting to change your hours without your agreement then...

    1. You have a right to raise the issue as a matter of concern with your employer - and you can also seek the assistance of a UNION if you are a member.

    2. You have a right to receive legal NOTIFICATION of the change; and a right to consider whether to accept or reject the change.

    3. If you do not receive the notification, then you have a right to formally COMPLAIN.

    4. If your employer attempts to force the change, and threatens you in any way, or makes life awkward, you can take the matter to a TRIBUNAL, citing a) UNFAIR DISMISSAL (if your employer sacks you for refusing to work different hours), or b) CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL (if you resign due to feeling pressured, or unable to accept the change in hours). Also, you could additionally take the following issues up at a TRIBUNAL provided you have kept a record of evidence to be produced at the hearing a) DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION (if your employer has singled you out unfairly for this treatment because of your health), and b) HARRASSMENT (if you feel that you are repeatedly targeted in a way that makes you feel bullied or intimidated).

    If I were you (and remember, this is only my opinion) I would seek out some advice and assistance, sooner rather than later. You are not being foolish, or "paranoid", for raising concerns - or for feeling that you may be getting unfairly treated because of your Endometriosis. Employers have a DUTY OF CARE to employees, and part of this duty is to be supportive and understanding of staff who have health problems. Besides, if your employers are aware of your Endo, there is also the issue of REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS to be considered (i.e. your employer ought to consider providing some form of assistance to enable you to remain in your job).

    I have provided some links to sites that tell you a bit more about such things as negotiating changes to a contract of employment, and reasonable adjustments; as well as details for help organisations, e.g. ACAS. The links are as follows:

    1. Changes to your contract -

    2. Reasonable adjustments -

    3. ACAS (helpline) - 0300 123 1100 and

    4. Equality and Human Rights (helpline) - 0808 800 0082 and

    I truly hope that some of this is helpful to you. Do NOT ever let anyone "back you into a corner". Learn to recognise discrimination, and how to make it known. Learn about your rights, and how to access them. Above all, do NOT ever let anyone make you feel guilty, or bad, at work because you have a health condition that a) YOU DID NOT CAUSE and b) IS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL - learn to recognise a BAD EMPLOYER if you have one, and NEVER feel guilty for leaving a job that makes you feel unhappy. If you feel you need to move on from a certain job, it is for a reason.

    Try to get as much advice and assistance as you can. If you are part of a Union, now is the time to seek their help. I wish you all the very best. Sorry this is such a long reply, but if I can help you so you don't have to go through what I went through (and what so many women with Endo have to go through) - bullying at work and/or loss of job - then it is worth the time typing it!

    Best wishes,

    Elaine. x

  • Thank you all for your replies and I'm sorry its taken me so long to get back to you but my stepfather passed away a few weeks ago.

    I've taken your advise though and seeked help. Luckily one of my friends is training to be a solicitor so she has wrote a letter on my behalf to my employer explaining what they have done is against the law and they need to sort it out. I'm just waiting on a reply from them so hopefully something will come of it. I Just cant believe that employers would treat their employees like this. It doesn't matter how hard you work for them they will never be there to help you when time are hard.

    I'll keep you guys updated as things happen.

    Thank you all again.

    Saralou x

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