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Reply To: I have loaded up a few HR questions people are battling with: (1) Are there any changes to employment law during this period or leniencies for employers? (2) Do you still have to honour redundancy clauses (from their contract) in full e.g. 3-month notice period? (3) If you are looking to reduce everybody’s hours, do you have to follow a normal restructure process? What if somebody doesn’t agree/isn’t interested? (4) Can you force someone to take their annual leave during their notice period? (5) How do you offer unpaid leave?

3) If you are looking looking to reduce everybody’s hours, do you have to follow a normal restructure process? What if somebody doesn’t agree/isn’t interested.

Yes. A change to an employees employment conditions warrants a change process (better terminology that “restructure” process which has immediate negative connotations of job loss).

After going through a genuine (and documented) change process where feedback has been received, considered and decision has still been made to modify hours across the board, the employer can make that business change. Though I would recommend that there is a finite time period provided for the employee to consider the reduction for. E.g if you are suggesting it be for 12 weeks, you need to confirm in writing that you will be returning them to their previous terms and conditions at a certain date.

The employee doesn’t have to agree, and may consider the change to hours significant enough that they want to be made redundant rather than continue in employment that is worth less to them, though for a temporary period of time. This can be negotiated, and it would also be dicey. I would seek assistance in wording that final decision should you have employees that are vehemently opposed to supporting their employer remaining in business, which is effectively what that scenario would mean.