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Your questions answered: How can we reduce a full-time employee’s hours?

By Portner Press on October 4th, 2019
  1. Termination of Employment
  2. Redundancy

Q
We would like to reduce the working hours of a full-time employee.

We have had a preliminary discussion with her, and it would appear that she will not agree to a reduction in hours.

If she refuses the offer of part-time work, what can we do next?

A
An employer cannot generally reduce hours without the consent of the employee. To do so can constitute a constructive dismissal. To implement the kind of reductions in hours you are contemplating it is generally best to:

  • let the employee know this is what you are planning;
  • ask the employee’s consent (in writing) to reduce their hours; and
  • let them know you are trying to avoid making the position redundant.

You should not threaten the employee with dismissal if they do not agree, however, if they do not agree then you may make the position redundant.

A position will be redundant where it is no longer required for operational reasons. It may be that the full-time position is no longer available but a part-time position is, which the case is presently.

In this situation, the employee whose position is redundant should be offered redeployment to a part-time role. If she does not accept, you will need to adhere to the relevant notice period if you are dismissing her because of a redundancy.

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