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ricomadistributor.com - 17 November 2022

Can Your Contract Be Changed While on Furlough

In today’s uncertain economic climate, many businesses are turning to furloughs as a way to reduce costs while keeping their workforce intact. Furloughs can be an excellent way to maintain employee loyalty and avoid the costs associated with layoffs, but they can also raise a host of legal and contractual issues.

One of the most common questions employers and employees have when it comes to furloughs is whether a contract can be changed while an employee is on furlough. The answer, as with many things in the legal world, is: it depends.

In general, an employer can change the terms of an employee’s contract while they are on furlough. However, there are some important limitations to keep in mind.

First, any changes must be agreed upon by both parties. This means that an employer cannot unilaterally change an employee’s contract without their consent. If an employer wishes to change the terms of a contract, they should consult with the employee and attempt to reach an agreement.

Second, any changes must be reasonable and not detrimental to the employee. For example, an employer cannot reduce an employee’s pay or benefits while they are on furlough unless there is a legitimate business reason for doing so.

Third, certain terms of a contract may be protected by law. For example, an employee’s statutory rights, such as the right to a minimum wage, cannot be changed by agreement. Similarly, if a contract contains restrictive covenants, such as non-compete clauses, these may be difficult to enforce if they are changed during a furlough period.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the terms of a contract may be subject to collective bargaining agreements or other formal agreements between the employer and employees. If this is the case, any changes to those agreements should be made in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

In conclusion, while a contract can be changed while an employee is on furlough, the changes must be agreed upon by both parties and must not be detrimental to the employee. If you are an employer considering changing an employee’s contract during a furlough period, it’s important to seek legal advice to ensure that you are acting within the law. If you are an employee, it’s important to understand your rights and to seek legal advice if you believe that your employer is acting unfairly or unlawfully.

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