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One in five employers has changed employee contracts since the start of the pandemic, according to the CIPD.
The HR industry body found that 22% of organisations had altered terms and conditions between March 2020 and July 2021, despite concerns over so-called ‘fire and rehire’ practices.
The most common changes to terms were location of work (49%), hours of work (47%) and pay levels (44%). Just over a fifth made changes to redundancy terms and pay (22%).
Some made positive changes to contracts, such as changing access to enhanced benefits (20%). Half included an improved pay offer in the contract, while 38% reduced pay.
Forty-four per cent of employers polled by the CIPD reduced working hours, while 24% increased them.
A small minority of 3%, but one that covers an estimated 43,000 employees, dismissed staff and rehired them on the new terms – the practice of fire and rehire. Just under a fifth changed terms through consultation and voluntary agreement.
Unions and MPs called for fire and rehire practices to be outlawed in May, after a poll by the union Unite found that 70% of the public want this to be made illegal.
Workers angry at the practice have conducted or threatened industrial action. Most recently workers at Weetabix factories announced a series of two-day strikes over proposals that would leave them £5,000 a year worse off.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy, said it was not surprising that employers had made contractual changes in the