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Variation of contracts

Original author: Sue Johnstone

Updating author: Zuraida Curtis


  • Neither party has an automatic right to change contract terms, even when they are out of date or inconvenient. (See No implied power to change the terms)
  • Terms can be changed only if the parties agree to the change or the change is in accordance with a contract term. (See The agreement of the parties and Discretionary and flexible terms)
  • There are remedies available to employees whose contractual terms are changed without their agreement. (See The effect of imposing new terms)
  • In the absence of an employee's consent to change terms, the employer may decide to dismiss and re-engage them on new terms, although there are risks attached to this course of action. (See Dismissal and re-engagement)
  • If an employer is dismissing and re-engaging employees to change their terms this will be a redundancy dismissal for the purposes of collective consultation. (See Redundancy consultation)
  • The rules on transfers of undertakings make it difficult to vary contract terms following a transfer. (See Transfers of undertakings)