Documenting changes to employment arrangements
We sometimes get queries about how to document agreed changes, or more difficult situations when:
- a pattern of work has changed over the years that has not been formalised, or
- there was an agreed change for a trial that has continued, and the employee now considers these their regular hours of work.
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We recommend that any changes be documented, but how is the best way to do this? Once you have agreed the changes with the employee we suggest:
- If the employment agreement is more than 5 years old, it may be timely to update the agreement to the latest version that you can find on the website and there is a template letter that explains why you have updated the employment agreement.
- In other cases, a formal variation to be signed with a letter confirming your discussion will do.
In both cases you need to give the employee time to seek independent advice on the changes.
Most employees have their remuneration reviewed on an annual basis, for some this might be determined by a collective agreement and their pay is adjusted on a set date. For the rest this may be on their anniversary or on an agreed date that the practice decides. The decision whether to offer a remuneration increase maybe determined by the staff members performance and contribution to the team.
Whether there is change or not, this should be documented in writing to the employee, either advising of the pay increase and thanking them for contribution to the team, or advising that there will be no change to their pay at this time, why the decision has been made, and if applicable the review date, which may be earlier than 12 months. A copy of the communication should be kept with the employees’ HR records.
Change of hours or days of work
Any change to hours or days of work must be agreed between both parties. Once agreed this should be documented by a variation to the employment agreement with a letter to accompany it. There are templates on HealthyPractice. Also document if the change is permanent or on a temporary or trial basis.
Change of role
In most cases a change of role won’t necessitate a new IEA, unless there are a lot of changes to the terms and conditions that accompany the role. You can document the change in role by variation as above and providing a new position description.
Change of hours on return from parental leave
Frequently employees returning from parental leave, request to decrease their hours or days of work. This can be done as a simple request or under the flexible working hours legislation. Under parental leave legislation the practice obligation is to keep the employees job open until they return, under their current terms and conditions. Any change to the terms and condition needs to considered, taking into account the needs of the business, and either agreed or declined. If you agree to the request, document as a variation with accompanying letter. Also document if the change is permanent or on a temporary or trial basis.
Working from home
The last 18 months has changed the way many of us work with the opportunity to work from home, or other remote situations. Have you documented what was agreed and the terms of the agreement, or considered your employer responsibilities with this arrangement, especially around health and safety? Read our content about things to consider before you develop a policy for your workplace.
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