Changing T's and C's: Do We Need Consent?

When looking to change or harmonise terms and conditions, first identify whether your plans involve amending the contract or changing non-contractual benefits or policies. You have much more scope to modify non-contractual provisions without consent.

If you want to make a change to a contractual term or right then you need to consider whether you can do so in terms of the contract. The contract of employment might give you a general power to vary terms and conditions without consent, or there may be specific variation provisions, such as a mobility clause. There are limits on when and how these types of clause can be relied on.

If the contract does not provide for the change, you will need the employee’s consent. If you can’t get consent, you could impose the change unilaterally or dismiss and re-engage on the new terms. Both options carry risks.

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