Can a freelance employer cut wages 50% whilst maintaining full-time hours?

14th Apr 2020

The company I have a rolling freelance contract with has instituted a 50% pay cut for all staff across the board. Wanting to cut the company some slack (it being a start-up) and assuming this translated to a 50% decrease in hours as well, I accepted. The idea of a 50% cut in wages for full-time work seemed so irrational I never considered it an option. I started communications to come to an agreement for new working hours, and the company let it be known I was expected to either work full-time for 50% or half-time for 25%.

Is this legal? I know some colleagues are facing difficulties as well, but are afraid to rock the boat.

Thank you.

CATEGORY: Employment


1 answer
  • Curwens LLP

    It depends on your contract but it is lilkely that the employer cannot vary the contractual terms without your agreement. In realility due to the economic impact of the pandemic, whilst the company is unlikley to be able to effect a change without your agreement, they know that individuals face no real option other than to accept given the difficulty of finding alternative work at this time. Whilst a change without your consent would be a breach of contract, the company will be aware that at this time the risk to them is low given the number of employees who are in reality likely to object or instigate legal action.


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