What happens if my employer offers me a new contract while I’m working?

Sometimes your employer will make changes on their own that will require you signing a new contract. They may be offering you a promotion or a salary raise, or introducing new benefits. These can obviously be great things for your career, but it is always important to have that agreement reviewed by one of our lawyers before you sign. They may be making that offer in exchange for changing other terms of that contract that you may not even realize, so a careful review is important. 

If the change is not a positive one, like a change to your role or location of work that you do not agree with, both you and your employer have options. You could potentially refuse the change and stick with your current agreement instead. However if your employer is determined to make the change, they may give you what’s called ‘working notice,’ which is notice that in a set number of weeks your new contract takes effect, and if you are not on board then you are no longer employed with the company. 

However, what your employer cannot do is make ‘substantial’ changes to your existing contract without your approval. If your employer all of the sudden decides to put you in a completely different role, or cut your salary or pay structure in half without your approval, that may be considered a constructive dismissal. In that case, the employer is no longer holding themselves to your employment contract, so they have effectively let you go without actually telling you that they did. The term ‘constructive dismissal’ is used too often in common conversation, but an actual constructive dismissal follows a strict legal test. Learn more about how constructive dismissal really works.  

If your employer offers you a new agreement while you’re working, or starts making significant changes to your existing contract, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected.