Introduction to this document

Letter seeking consent to vary place of work

Where you’ve held a consultation meeting with an employee to discuss varying their place of work so that it becomes their home address under a permanent homeworking arrangement, you can then seek their consent to that variation using our letter.

Seeking consent

You can use our Meeting to Discuss Varying Place of Work letter to start a consultation process with the employee which is aimed at securing their consent to a change to their contractual place of work to become their home address. After you’ve held a first consultation meeting, follow it up by sending them our Letter Seeking Consent to Vary Place of Work. As well as reiterating the reasons for the proposed move to permanent homeworking and setting out draft wording for the place of work clause in the employee’s employment contract, it also provides a proposed effective date for the change and asks them to sign, date and return an attached consent form if they’re now happy to agree to it. If the employee is not yet at that stage though, it then goes on to schedule a second consultation meeting with them to enable further discussion and negotiation to take place. Don’t accidentally exclude from your consultation process any affected employees who are currently absent from work, such as those who are absent on long-term sick leave or maternity leave. If the employee provides their consent to you in writing, you can reply by sending written confirmation of their revised place of work.

Refusal to consent

If the employee isn’t yet willing to agree to change their place of work, carefully listen to their objections and their reasons for those objections, consider their personal circumstances and the impact on them of permanent homeworking (for example, less experienced employees may be keen to return to the workplace for learning and training reasons and you’ll need to consider how to accommodate these needs), be prepared to make concessions where reasonable to do so and then try to reach a suitable compromise, e.g. a hybrid arrangement of partial homeworking and partial office working. You could also consider offering a one-off incentive to secure the employee’s consent. Do be prepared for the consultation process to take some time. If, despite your best efforts at negotiation and compromise, an employee still refuses to agree to the change to their place of work, you may either have to preserve the status quo or possibly consider dismissal and re-employment (so-called “fire and re-hire”). This latter option should be an absolute last resort though and only considered once all other options have been thoroughly explored (plus it may involve you having to comply with collective consultation obligations, in addition to individual consultation, if the proposal to change place of work involves 20 or more employees).

A permanent change

Once you’ve agreed with an employee that they can permanently change their place of work to their home, that becomes a term of their employment contract, so write some flexibility into your clause if you want to have the potential right to bring them back to working at your business premises at a later date. Our draft clause wording includes this.