The Telegraph reports today of HSBC’s announcement yesterday to 1,500 UK managers that ‘it would change the terms and conditions in their contracts’ to enable more flexible working so that more branches could open on Saturdays.  The plans include extending Saturday working (with a day off during the week) and reduction of sick pay to 26 weeks in line with other employees.

I suspect there is more to it than that and HSBC have opened consultation with managers in respect to proposed changes rather than telling them that they intend to enforce changes.  Any unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment could result in employees walking and bringing constructive unfair dismissal claims (if they over one year’s service).  HSBC are probably looking to get the buy in of managers (or the majority of) to the proposals by justifying the business reasons for the change and emphasising the positives.  Provided they can do this and have gone through a process of consultation trying to seek agreement to the changes then, if a small number do not agree and do not sign up to new terms and conditions, they may be dismissed with notice (or pay in lieu) and avoid unfair dismissal liability.

This is very much the legalities behind the headlines – but doesn’t make for that juicy reading !!!