We are moving to a 4 day working week and all the staff agree. Do I need to issue them with new contracts or can I just write to all employees confirming the scheme?


There are a few things to think about in relation to moving to a four day working week. The first is an adjustment to holiday entitlement, the second is to consider any existing part-time workers, the third is whether you need to have a restriction on employees working for other employers without your consent and the fourth is to give yourself discretion to amend the new way of working if it proves to no longer be beneficial for you.

With regard to the final point, even if you build in discretion into the contract to amend the new way of working, any discretion would need to be exercised reasonably in order to avoid the risk of employees resigning and claiming unfair dismissal.

In any event, it would not be sufficient to merely write to the employees confirming the scheme. Any employment contract variation needs to be in writing and agreed by both parties, so you can either do this by issuing a new employment contract with both parties agreeing to it and both parties signing it or you could issue a side letter that varies the terms of the original employment contract that is signed by both you and the employee.

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