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Breaking the bad news that you have to reduce an employee's hours by letter can be challenging. However, when you do it with understanding and adherence to the law, you can make the whole process a lot easier.
Read on to see how to write a reducing hours at work letter, complete with free templates and examples.
What is a reducing hours at work letter?
In basic terms, a reducing hours at work letter is a letter given to an employee by their employer to notify them of a reduction in working hours. This letter will outline the reason for the reduction in hours and give employees the chance to respond or appeal this decision.
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When should I use a reducing hours at work letter?
A reducing hours at work letter should be used when a worker's contracted hours have to be cut down. This reduction in hours may be down to a lack of business funds, a lack of available work or if you're choosing to reorganise the business.
A reduction in hours can't be made without the consent and agreement of the employee. Writing a letter outlining how and when you are proposing to reduce an employee's hours is an important first step in the process.
Reducing hours at work letter vs notice of redundancy
A reducing hours at work letter should not be confused with a notice of redundancy letter. The reduction of hours is generally an attempt to keep employees in work, whereas a notice of redundancy will result in the ending of an employees contract.
Some businesses may choose to make redundancies rather than reduce hours, yet keeping the employees on can be more beneficial. The most you can reduce hours by before it is considered a redundancy is generally around 40%.
What does a reducing hours at work include and not include?
A letter notifying a reduction of an employee's hours has to include several things to keep it all above board. The letter must first and foremost include a genuine and ethical reason for reducing the employees hours.
As well as this, a clear statement of how an employee's hours and shifts will change must be included. There should also be a section on how the accrual of annual leave and sick leave has changed due to the reduction in hours.
The final sections of the letter should state how long the employee has to appeal or respond to this reducing hours at work letter. This should be at least 15 days after the letter is given to the employee.
What is not included in a reducing hours at work letter?
A reducing hours at work letter should not overlook any aspect of the change and should strive to include as much information as possible. Including every point is vital for both the process and the wellbeing of your employee.
If any necessary detail is overlooked when going through the letter-writing process, then it may be considered by the employee as unfair or even illegal. If you go about the procedure incorrectly, it can also be mistakenly taken as discrimination or singling-out.
How effective is a reducing hours at work letter?
A letter illustrating why a reduction of hours is needed is far more effective than any other course of action. As the process is always an unpleasant one, by writing a clear and concise letter, the employee feels far more included in the changes.
As the consent of the employee is needed for a smooth transition, providing them with all of the information in the letter makes this far smoother process. By choosing empathetic language in the letter, the effectiveness will be far greater than if it were delivered in a cold and unattached way.
Do I need a lawyer for a reducing hours work letter?
A lawyer is not strictly needed when you want to write and issue a reducing hours at work letter, as it is all done in house. However, it won't hurt to have your letter looked over by a lawyer. You can also make sure the letter is legally watertight by using an online legal template.
Get access to customisable reducing hours at work templates online
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How do I write a reducing hours at work letter?
When writing a reducing hours at work letter, it is essential to go through a series of checkpoints. Start by writing the name and address of the employee whose hours you wish to reduce, complete with the date in which you are delivering it.
Go onto state the reason for the reduction of hours and how this will affect the employee's wages, sick pay, annual leave and any other occupational benefits. Finish the letter by stating the employee is within their right to reply and challenge this reduction but has a specific time frame for doing so.
Sign and date the letter again at the bottom and leave space for the employee to do the same once they have received and agreed on the changes.
Where to get free legal documents and templates such as a reducing hours at work letter?
Free legal templates can be found from a variety of free sources across the web. Sites such as Wonder Legal and Lawpath are ideal for this. More occupational based documents and templates can be found from sites such as Employment Hero.
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