Working from home: Pay cut may be on the horizon as policies change -what are your rights?

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For example, in the United States, Google has told US employees who switch to permanent home working after coronavirus restrictions are lifted will face a pay cut. Many British firms are also contemplation pay reductions, according to the latest research, up to 68 percent of them may be slashing their rates.

If an employer does decide to cut an individual’s pay, it is important that Britons understand what their rights are in this situation.

Karen Jackson, managing director at the employment law firm Didlaw explained: “Employment law does not permit your employer to unilaterally change a fundamental term of your employment contract — such as pay — without your agreement.

“This is the case even if your contract says your employer reserves the right to make changes.

“They need your agreement to change your pay unless it is to your advantage, for example, they can increase your pay with a pay rise without asking your consent.”

Therefore, if an employer goes ahead with this, they risk breaching contract.

Even with these consequences, some employers may still consider reducing the pay of those who chose to work from home.

If Britons find themselves in this situation, they should seek legal advice as soon as possible as this may help.

There are many online resources that offer free advice helplines such as ACAS and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If getting legal advice, some solicitors may offer an initial free consultation too.

While some may feel pushed to hand in their resignation, making employment decisions without taking advice could be the wrong move.

Ms Jackson continued: “Don’t resign. You can raise a complaint either informally or via your employer’s grievance procedure but if the employer is taking a policy decision on reducing salaries this may be futile.”

Britons may be able to talk with their employers and find a common ground.

This could involve negotiations and in-depth discussions on the matter.

It may help to calmly explain how each person is still doing the same job with the same responsibilities, even when working from home.

It could help individuals to find a compromise about working situations, as well as pay.

There is even a Working from Home tax refund Britons may be able to secure through the HMRC website.

Ms Jackson concluded: “You could also seek to agree to a mid-way between your current salary and what the employer proposes to reduce your salary to, but this may be an uphill battle.”

Two-thirds of businesses asked are considering slashing the pay of employees who decide to work from home permanently.

As a result, it may be daunting to make that decision.

A survey of 150 businesses by HR software provider CIPHR found that 97 percent will let staff work from home at least some of the time now lockdown is over.

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