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Put onto Permanent Contract - with reduction in hours

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Hello folks - grateful to anyone who can help with this.

 

My wife has worked in the same organisation for the last four years. She has had four separate one-year contracts during this time. Her contracted hours have varied slightly from contract to contract, but for the last two (one-year) contracts has had 19 per week.

 

She was told a few weeks ago that, due to the fact she's been there for four years, she is being put onto a permanent contract. The permanent contract however offers three fewer hours per week than she currently works, even though they will expect her to work the same number of hours this year and claim the three hours as "overtime" (though this "overtime" is not paid at a higher rate.)

 

Is there some disadvantage to her with this arrangement? Her holiday entitlement will presumably be determined by her contracted hours, rather than the contract plus "overtime" worked regularly. Is this right? I guess the employer misrepresenting her normal hours worked, perhaps in order to maintain some flexibility if they decide they don't want her to work the extra three hours after all?

 

Can they do this - putting her onto a permanent contract with three fewer hours than she has had over the less couple of years? What options does she have, if this arrangement does actually work against her unfairly?

 

Many thanks to anyone who can offer advice.

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if regular overtime is worked the hours are used to calculate holiday entitlement and pay. As she is part time this is quite easy to do (relatively easier than a full time position). No doubt the reason for dropping her hours to 16 are that they save money in NI contributions as there is a threshold where they pay different rates (I think that still applies, if not then not sure what logic to it)

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