Money blog: Working from home dispute answered by solicitor | UK News

My contract says I must be in office two days a week – but my boss is pushing me to come in more

Every Monday we put your financial dilemmas or consumer disputes to industry experts. You can find out how to submit yours at the bottom of this post.

This week, Sky News reader Steve asks…

“My work contract says I must be in the office two days a week. However, my manager pushes me to come in four times at least, sometimes five days. Is this allowed? Should I be getting paid more for this?”

Philip Landau, employment lawyer at Landau Law, says this…

The starting point is to double check your contract of employment to check that there is no flexibility for your employer to increase the number of work days in the office. 

Quite often, a contract will provide for a set number of days to be worked at home, but reserve the right for this to be amended at an employer’s discretion. 

In addition, some contracts will provide for an employer to make general changes to your terms of engagement to reflect the business needs. 

Even with such a clause, however, this does not give them carte blanche to do what they like. 

They would still have to show it was “reasonable” to invoke such a clause, and this will normally come down to requirements of the business. 

If they can’t show this, then you are on stronger grounds to resist any change. 

Your strongest position will be where your employment contract unequivocally states that you do not need to be in the office for more than two days a week. 

It is not likely you are entitled to be paid more for coming into the office four or five days a week, as you would still be working the same number of hours, albeit in a different location.

You always have the right to lodge a grievance at any time, and you may choose to take this formal step if matters cannot be resolved. 

This is usually a simple process. You need to set out in writing why you think you have been unfairly treated and confirm that it is a formal grievance you wish to make. Many companies have a policy which sets out who to send the grievance to, and this is often someone in HR.

Most employers take grievances very seriously, and it should be properly investigated. You also have the right to appeal any decision. 

If you choose to appeal you will be given a set time to do so – this is usually up to five days. You would need to explain in writing why you do not agree with the original grievance decision. An appeal should be heard by a different and more senior manager where this is possible. 

If you are still not happy after the grievance outcome and appeal, there is always the possibility of making a claim to the tribunal for constructive dismissal. This is where you would need to resign on the basis that there has been a breach of mutual trust and confidence between the parties. 

If the employee did wish to then issue tribunal proceedings, the process should be commenced by lodging the claim with ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) under their early conciliation period no later than three months less one day from the last day of employment. 

Before taking this step, however, if a decision has already been made to leave employment, it is far better to try to negotiate an amicable exit, which will include a lump sum package and agreed reference. 

This should take place on a “without prejudice” (off the record) basis, preferably before you resign. Such an approach would also be more likely to preserve amicability between the parties, rather than the more contentious tribunal route. 

This feature is not intended as financial advice – the aim is to give an overview of the things you should think about. Submit your dilemma or consumer dispute, leaving your name and where in the country you are, in the form above or by emailing with the subject line “Money blog”. Alternatively, WhatsApp us here.

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