Making changes to your employment contract – advice for employees

If changes to your employment contract are agreed

If a contract change has been agreed between you, your employer and any relevant representatives, your employer should:

  • put the changes in writing
  • make sure everyone is clear about the details, such as how and when the changes will take effect and if it's a temporary or permanent change
  • monitor how the changes are working for an appropriate period of time

Checking changes are accurate

Your employer should put contract changes in writing. This helps to make sure everyone is clear about what is changing so there is less chance of misunderstandings or disagreements.

For example, your employer might do this in a letter, by email, or by updating your written employment contract if you have one.

In some circumstances, your employer must update your 'written statement of employment particulars'. This is a written document summarising the main terms and conditions of your employment.

You should:

  • check the changes are accurate
  • let them know if you have any concerns

When your employer must update your written statement

Your employer must update your written statement if the changes relate to your:

  • job title
  • job description
  • job location
  • pay
  • working hours
  • holiday entitlement
  • terms covered by a 'collective agreement' with a trade union

Your employer must usually update your written statement within 1 month of any changes taking effect.

For some terms, they must update it within 2 months. For example, if the changes affect pension arrangements or terms covered by a collective agreement with a trade union.

When you receive your updated written statement, you should check it is accurate.

If your employer does not update your written statement, you can ask them to. The law says your employer must not 'subject you to any detriment' if you do this. This means your employer must not treat you unfairly because you've asked them to provide or update your written statement.

Find out more about what your written statement must include

Understanding how the change affects you

Your employer should make sure you are clear about how the change affects you.

They should explain to you details such as:

  • what the change is
  • why it has been introduced
  • when and how it will take effect
  • for how long it will last, if it's a temporary change
  • what’s expected of you
  • who you should talk with if you have any questions or concerns

If your employer negotiated the change with employee representatives, they might both write to you about it. For example, to explain to everyone affected that employee representatives have influenced and support the change.

If you have any questions or concerns

You should talk with your employer if you have any questions or concerns, for example about how the changes will affect your day-to-day work.

If a change affects many employees who work across different teams or locations, it's a good idea to check if there is one person or department handling all the questions.

After changes have been introduced

Your employer should continue to communicate with you and other employees for an appropriate period, to check:

  • if the changes are working as expected
  • if the changes are being applied consistently and fairly
  • how you and anyone else affected are adapting to the changes
  • if you have any other issues or concerns

If you have any ongoing concerns or suggestions, you should raise these with your employer. It might also be useful to talk to a trade union or other employee representative if you have one.

If you're finding a period of change difficult

Changes to terms and conditions can sometimes affect the way people feel emotionally, mentally and physically.

If you need more support, you should consider:

  • talking to any trained members of staff, for example a mental health first aider or health and wellbeing representative
  • using your organisation's employee assistance programme (EAP), if there's one available
  • talking to your trade union representative

Find out more about supporting mental health at work

Last reviewed