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9
Apr 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Role Changing During COVID-19: Can employers ask this of their employees?

An employer can expect its employees to carry out different roles within the business where their contract of employment permits this. The employer should consider the relevant job descriptions to see if they comprise of the proposed changes, or if the contract contains a flexibility clause that allows the employer to vary the employees' roles and/or duties. If the employment contract does not allow for this, employers must be aware of the difficulties of imposing contractual changes which could potentially result in claims for constructive unfair dismissal. Any changes to the contract of employment should therefore should be undertaken with early consultation and with a view to reaching agreement with employees.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, employees may be more prepared to accept changes to their contract of employment where there is an imperative need for the work to be carried out, or where the viability of the business may be at risk. Employees may be willing to take on different roles if they are aware that it is for a brief period. The employer should be as transparent as possible with employees about the duration of any changes to their roles. An employee may be seen as having agreed to contractual changes if they carry out the varied role without any complaint.

Employers should ensure that suitable training is provided to any employees who may be required to carry out unfamiliar tasks and a risk assessment should be carried out to cover the temporary redeployment. For example, young or pregnant workers should not be substituted into inappropriate work.

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Posted in Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Employee Contracts

19
Mar 20

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Putting staff on layoff

As the country tries to get to grips with the Covid-19 pandemic and companies are struggling with temporarily closing their business and laying-off staff, here are some key things you need to know about layoff.

Layoff or redundancy?

As a result of the recent business closures, many employees have been layed-off. Layoff is a temporary measure, whereby the individual is still an employee of the company but they are not receiving any remuneration for the duration of the layoff. Normally, once the situation that led to the layoff is over, the employee will return to their previous role on the same terms and conditions, their length of service will not be impacted by the layoff. In the current situation, it is hoped that many business will be able to re-engage their staff once the current emergency situation eases.

Redundancy on the other hand occurs when the employee loses their job permanently, due to a business closure or a reduction in work levels.

Other Layoff Considerations

  • Employers should give employees notice in writing that they will be put on layoff, although no time period is specified
  • Notice can be given using form RP9
  • Generally, in order to layoff an employee there should be a layoff clause in the contract of employment or it should be custom and practice in the company. It is imagined that flexibility will be shown at this exceptional time, if neither of these exist. However some employers may consider:
    1. including a layoff clause in the agreed terms of employment on a temporary basis,
    2. getting some form of confirmation, signature or email, from the employee to the layoff.

 

 

Posted in Coronavirus