Changing a job description in a contract

By Jeff Salton on July 3rd, 2017

We all know technology moves at a rapid rate and

its implementation can dramatically increase business efficiencies. But what happens when it affects only part of the duties of a senior worker at your business… not enough to make them redundant?

Say, for instance, improved business efficiency in a particular department takes certain duties away from the existing employee and gives them to a new employee who will be in charge of the technology.

Can the existing employee argue that this equates to a demotion? Can a business argue that the department is being restructured to improve productivity and a change in their position is being offered instead of redundancy as there are still duties left to perform?

What if the employee rejects the alternative position, are you required to pay them redundancy entitlements as the reduction in duties may not be seen as ‘acceptable alternative employment’?

Employment law expert and Editor-in-Chief of the Employment Law Practical Handbook Charles Power says that a business that simply changes the worker’s position to one of a lesser status and/or pay would likely be considered a demotion and cannot be implemented without the employee’s consent.

But if a restructure necessitates the movement of duties in the business such that the worker’s position is no longer required to be performed (and that position thereby becomes redundant), you need to consider whether you can redeploy them to an acceptable alternative role in the business.

“In the redeployment context, you need to consider jobs the employee can perform, including jobs lower in status and pay,” says Charles. “If they do not accept the lower job, generally they will need to be dismissed on the basis of redundancy and paid their redundancy entitlements.”

Before making any hasty or, in this case, perhaps reluctant decisions on redundancies, it makes sense to know the process and the ramifications of undertaking this decision.

Redundancy can be a tricky area for a number of reasons and it’s important to be aware of your employee’s entitlements and the legal risks involved.

Managing Redundancies is written by Charles and contains everything you need to know about implementing a redundancy effectively, fairly and with the least possible impact on your business and staff.

The eBook also contains nine essential document templates that have been drafted by employment law experts to help you through the redundancy process, including:

  • Retrenchment Letter
  • Statement of Service
  • Redeployment Letter
  • Deed of Release
  • Redundancy checklist

You can get your copy of Managing Redundancies today just by clicking here.

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