Covid-19 was always going to provide an opportunity for unscrupulous employers and managers to squeeze through changes which would never normally be accepted in ‘normal’ circumstances, under the guise of a response to coronavirus.

In a recent note on changes to branch opening hours effective from 14th September 2020, the Bank said “There is no requirement to document these temporary changes to working patterns although you will need to update CRT”.

The majority of managers will approach this issue in a sensible way, but our experience shows that all too often a small minority attempt to abuse their position.

A lack of requirement to document temporary changes to working patterns could give some managers the opportunity to try to impose changes which are unsupported by any rationale; even worse, in some cases managers may attempt to have no set work pattern for staff at all, with hours being changed on a daily basis.

Ensuring clear records are maintained is essential for a number of reasons:

1. To avoid disputes further down the line about what was or wasn’t worked and what should or shouldn’t be paid. It’s obvious where problems could arise in this area.

2. To confirm that changes are only temporary. It’s essential that everyone is clear that any changes are not being made on a permanent basis. This might seem obvious, but further down the line it could be important that you have this confirmed in writing.

3. To ensure that there is a clear record of exactly why a change is being made. Managers must be reasonable when making changes; documenting rationales will help to prevent any managers who make unreasonable requests of their staff think twice.

Failures to document working hours changes because members ’trusted my previous manager’ or were given verbal ‘assurances’ are a constant source of disputes. If you don’t have evidence you will find it hard to enforce your rights; in short you could find yourself ‘taken to the cleaners’. I can’t make this warning any clearer.

Advice To Members

If temporary changes are made, ask your manager to confirm those changes, and why they’re being made, in writing.

If your manager refuses to do so, contact the Advice Team straight away on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1) for further advice. The Advice Team are available 24 hours a day.

Keep your own record of what hours you have worked before and after a change so that if a dispute does arise, you’re clear in your own mind what hours you did or didn’t work.

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