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Changes to Employment Terms

Any employer who wants to make changes to the terms of the employment contract between the employer and the employee, including changes to the working hours, must ensure that they comply with the relevant laws first and do not breach any of their obligations under their employment contract, and the relevant award or enterprise agreement.

Changes to the Working Hours

The working hours of an employee are detailed in their employment contract with the employer. The employer cannot make changes to these working hours if there is no express term in the employment contract allowing this change to be made or the employee agrees to the proposed change(s).

In the case of Public Service Association v Zoological Parks Board NSW, it was held that before making any changes to the working hours of the employee, the employer must check the applicable modern award, enterprise agreement, or employment contract and workplace policies, relevant to their employment relationship.

Further, in Abbott v Women’s and Children’s Hospital Inc (2003) 86 SASR 1, [34], an employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of a contract without first consulting the employee and pursuant to Howtrac Rentals Pty Ltd v Thiess Contractors (NZ) Limited [2000] VSC 415, [417]–[424], the employee is not obliged to accept any changes to the working hours proposed by the employer.

Section 145A of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FWA) states that modern awards must include the term according to which the employer must consult the employee before making any changes to their roster or working hours. These terms are found in most of the modern awards.

Next Steps

If you are considering changing your employees hours of work, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on (02) 9262 5495 or (03) 8899 7870; visit our Website; Like our Facebook Page.

This article is written by Nyeilza Dutt and settled by Damin Murdock. This article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All articles found on this website are intended to provide informative information, nevertheless, in many instances legislation and case law has been simplified and/or paraphrased. If you would like personal legal advice based on your current circumstances, you should contact MurdockCheng Legal Practice for a free consultation.