Workers Unfairly Dismissed
More than 100 care home workers have compensation payouts up to £300,000 after a tribunal ruled they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs, it was revealed.
When social care provider Excelcare took over the running of 10 care homes in Essex, pay cuts of up to 40% were imposed on 115 members of staff after the running costs of the care homes proved to be higher than previously thought.
The two-week tribunal hearing in Bury St Edmunds heard that Excelcare claimed it had to impose the cuts, otherwise it would have had to close the homes due to a lack of funding from the council.
The Essex Echo reported that when the 115 employees refused to accept their new contracts, they were dismissed by the firm.
The members of staff received compensation payouts ranging from £1,000 to £300,000 after the tribunal found in their favour.
Excelcare has been operating for more than 20 years, and is based in Kent.
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Liesel Whitfield of Law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "There are strict obligations that must be observed when imposing changes to the fundamental terms of employees’ contracts of employment. Depending upon the number of employees concerned, these can include consulting for specified periods of up to 90 days with a recognised trade union or with the employees’ own elected representatives. Failure to comply with those obligations can result in compensation being awarded. In addition, changes of this nature can amount to a dismissal, which can also lead to a further award of compensation.
"Employers must remember that pay is about as fundamental a term of the contract as it can get, and they must consult and hopefully reach agreement with their employees about any proposed changes, particularly ones as drastic as this."