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How can contracts be varied?

A contract of employment can be varied in the following ways:

  • By agreement following consultation
  • Unilaterally by one party
  • By termination and re-engagement on new terms
  • Any variation to a contract will be a permanent change unless agreed otherwise

Given the permanency of a change, employers and employees should consider any approach to varying contracts of employment cautiously. In particular, employers need to be aware that some changes, if made without consent, may entitle an employee to resign and bring a claim for unfair constructive dismissal.

Employers can also build some flexibility into a contract of employment to help them in varying contracts more easily by using an express term in the contract stating that a particular term can be varied by them. For example, duties which the employee undertakes or the place at which the employee is employed.

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As experienced HR Advisors and Employment Law solicitors we see first-hand how HR issues can affect both the employee and the employer.

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