Introduction to this document

Letter proposing a change to pay date

If you want to change the weekly or monthly date on which you pay your staff, you’ll need to consult with them using our letter, with a view to obtaining their agreement.

Binding contract

The employment contract is binding on both parties, which means it’s generally unlawful for you to unilaterally change an existing employee’s contract without their express consent – unless the specific change is permitted by the contract itself. If you impose a contractual change without consent, you’ll be in breach of contract. If the breach is sufficiently serious, the employee may claim constructive dismissal if they resign due to your actions and have been employed for two years or more. As a pay date change is of an administrative nature rather than a change in substantive terms, a unilateral change here probably isn’t going to be sufficiently serious to support a constructive dismissal claim, but you will still be in breach of contract if you implement it without their consent. Plus, you could be in breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, which may be sufficient for a constructive dismissal claim, were you to unilaterally implement the change with little or no warning, causing the employee to suffer temporary financial difficulties as a result, e.g. because direct debits and standing orders can’t be paid due to insufficient bank funds.

Express agreement

If you wish to change an employee’s pay date, you should first inform them that you’re proposing (not making) this change. It’s often better here to start with a general staff meeting so that you can explain to everyone what you’re proposing and how it will work in practice. You can also reassure them that they won’t lose out financially due to the date change as it’s simply an administrative measure. Our Letter Proposing a Change to Pay Date arranges an individual meeting with the employee to discuss the pay date change in more detail with a view to securing their consent, but it also recognises that many employees will be happy to agree to this relatively minor change without the need for a meeting. Therefore, it gives them the option of simply signing and returning an attached consent form.

Not willing to agree

If an employee isn’t willing to accept the pay date change, you’ll have to engage in a period of negotiation to try and obtain their consent. Ultimately, it’s your decision whether to take the risk and implement the pay date change anyway either without consent or through negative consent, i.e. by stating employees will be deemed to have accepted it unless they specifically object by a particular date. If you do, ensure you give plenty of advance notice of the change, i.e. not less than three months and ideally six months, so that staff have sufficient opportunity to make any associated changes to their personal financial arrangements. Do also ensure nobody is temporarily out of pocket due to the pay date change – you might want to consider offering loans or advances of future pay. These can also be used as incentives to obtain consent.