My employer, lets call them ExampleCo, has decided to revise everybodies contracts to align them. The company has grown by acquisitions, so previously people had some variation in their contracts historically. I work in a department which requires work out of hours on a fairly frequent but adhoc basis, typically 10-20 hours per month.
My current contract states "Where you are required to work beyond your normal office hours in order to perform system changes, premises relocation and other 'down time' activities, subject to prior agreement from your line manager, you will be paid overtime at a rate of 1.5 times your basic hourly rate."
The new contract does not have this clause, but instead says "You are not entitled to additional remuneration for hours worked in excess of your normal hours."
This seems clearly to be to my detriment. The very nature of my job is that work out-of-hours is necessary, so in essence they are saying i cannot do my job (as i will be unable to achieve deadlines etc without doing that work, which can only be done out of hours).
All overtime is currently voluntary - i could very easily be 'busy' every evening/weekend and unable to do the out-of-hours work, however in my time with the company i have put evening/weekend work first all except for one weekend (where i gave 4 weeks notice that i would be unavailable to work then). Obviously if OT payments stopped i would be very unlikely to work evenings/weekends, but as above that would mean i'd no longer be able to do my job properly.
I have raised this omission to my superiors (Dept head, who reports directly to the board so is quite senior in position. The people in position between myself and them are also aware), and his response (verbally) was "don't worry about that. it will still be paid".
Now understandably i'm not inclined to sign the new contract on the basis of a verbal 'it will be okay' speech!
Included in the envelope with the new contract is a Q&A from HR regarding the contract changes.
One of the Q's covers 'what if i decide not to sign the new contract', which essentially says that after a period of consultation they will terminate my contract (redundancy?) then look to re-hire me under the new contract.
- this seems a bit iffy, but i believe this part is legal.
...then it goes on to say "All employees will have their salary reviewed (both those that sign and do not sign the new Contract). However, awarding salary increases following the review is discretionary. Only those employees that have signed ExampleCo's refreshed Contract will benefit from the next round of discretionary salary increases."
- so in other words, if i don't sign the new one, no pay rise. This seems very dodgy and 'bully-like'. Is this allowed?
Finally, pay reviews are on an annual basis, the last been Sept 2010 (actual pay increase was a nominal amount, as expected in the current climate). They have said the Sept 2011 review will be postponed until February, to generate cost savings (by not paying the increased salaries for 4 months). Doesn't this mean they are breaking their 'annual basis'
So, three issues/questions.
1) Can they remove the contractual element of paid overtime? My concern is that if this becomes a verbal gentlemans agreement instead, it will then erode (e.g. reduce from 1.5x to 1x, or time-in-lieu, etc) or be conveniently phased out/forgotten (the Dept head already has a selective memory about some things!).
2) Can they explicitly link chance of pay increase come review time, to whether we sign or not?
3) Are they breaking their annual pay review clause? (They have stated this clause in the aforementioned Q&A, describing it as a 'contractual obligation', however i cannot find mentioned of it in my current contract, other than "periodically").
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job and would like to keep a good relationship with my employer. However i also value the 1.5x OT payment, which equates to around 3-4k per annum to me. And the aggressive wording of their Q&A has wound me up.
- Worst case, if they won't see sense, what are my options?