Where a change occurs to any of the main terms and conditions of employment included in the Statutory Statement, employers are required to give written particulars of the change within one month of the change itself.
This also applies if there is a change in the identity of the employer. In these circumstances, the written note of the change needs to reaffirm the date on which the employee's period of continuous employment began.
Employers always need to consider whether changes to a contract require the agreement of the employee. If there are proposed changes to any of the headings in the Statutory Statement, these cannot safely be unilaterally introduced by the employer without the agreement of the employee.
Any fundamental change, therefore, needs agreement. Additional difficulty often occurs where employers wish to introduce changes to the working environment, which are not considered as fundamental changes. Good employee relations skills are needed to implement change whilst avoiding adverse reactions from employees.
Employees who believe that they have been forced to accept a fundamental change to their employment can resign and claim that they have been constructively dismissed i.e. that they have been forced to resign by the employer's requirement to vary their terms and conditions of employment, particularly if they can demonstrate the loss.
Employers should therefore be aware of the broad potential consequences of implementing change within their business without the consent of employees. Case law in this area is very varied and employers are encouraged to contact their telephone advisors prior to attempting to change any of the working conditions and benefits afforded to employees.