Back to top Since 30 June 2014, almost all employees with at least 26 weeks' service have the right to ask for flexible working which can include working from home. You can only refuse a request for one of the eight business reasons allowed by the legislation.Flexible working might include working for some or all of the time from home.
But even in the absence of such a term, all contracts contain implied terms - terms which may not be spelt out, but which are nonetheless binding.
One of them is a duty on employees to serve their employer honestly and faithfully, and work with due diligence, skill and care.
In any case, you will have to show that your decision to pay less can be objectively justified (ie, there is an acceptable business reason for doing so).
Back to top Under the 'fair piece rate' system, you may choose to pay the minimum wage for every hour worked, or bring in a 'rated output' system.
It could be seen as a fundamental breach of contract - although if your employees continued to work, an Employment Tribunal might hold that they had effectively accepted the change of terms and conditions. But take advice before you pay them differently, because it could be risky.
For example, you risk breaching the equal pay legislation, particularly if the employees you are relocating include a higher proportion of one sex than the employees you are recruiting at a lower rate.
If your employee has decided that the ability to work from home is worth more to them than promotion, at best you are going to end up with someone who is unhappy in the job.
You could alternatively aim for a compromise, under which they work two or three days a week in the office, or even better, leave it to them to organise their work in a way to guarantee your overall objectives.
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