Letter confirming changes to an employment contract

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What’s a letter confirming changes to an employment contract and when do you need it?

Use this letter when:

  • you want to make a change to an employee’s contract with you, and
  • ideally, you’ve met with the employee in advance to discuss this intended change with them, so that you can ensure they fully understand what is proposed and are willing to agree to it.

You can also adapt the wording of this letter where the employee has proposed the change, you have discussed it and you are willing to agree to it.

This could happen, for example, where the employee wants to work more flexibly, maybe increase their holiday allowance in return for a salary sacrifice or has lobbied you for a pay rise that you’ve agreed.

This letter is appropriate for employees based in England and Wales.

It would not be appropriate for a situation where changes to employment terms are being made for a number of employees at the same time, particularly if those changes are being made for 20 or more employees.

If the employee is resistant to a change that you’ve discussed, you’ll see that the template also describes what will happen next if the employee refuses to counter-sign the document.

If the employee is happy with the changes and signs the letter, you should keep this securely with the original employment contract.

Typical changes to an employee’s contract terms include things like:

  • job description and duties – which might come as a result of a promotion (or a demotion)
  • changing the employee’s work location or working hours
  • making changes to pay (including reductions in pay, changes to bonus rights or overtime entitlements, changes to holiday entitlement or what happens with sickness absences and sick pay, etc.)
  • changes to reporting lines and/or team structures

Changes such as these can be made by:

  • agreement between you and the employee, and/or
  • passage of time and long-standing practice (for instance, where an employer has always operated in a particular way: e.g. in relation to giving bonuses, or giving staff New Year’s Eve off – even though the contract is silent on these entitlements and the employer was not originally bound by contract to offer them).

Changes can also be made by collective agreement. This happens where the employee belongs to a trade union or staff association and the contract changes are reached as a result of collective negotiations between you and that union or association.

See our guide to employees and their trade union rights for more information.