Backdating an employment contract

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Depending on the extent and likely impact of the proposed changes, your employer should meet with affected employees, or the union where one is recognised, and explain their case for making the proposed change.

Employees should be given time to consider the proposal as well as to suggest alternative ways of achieving the same result (for example if cost-saving is the aim, different cost-saving ideas).

For obvious reasons, any request to backdate a document for these reasons should be flatly turned down.

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If the document is putting in place something which “should have been done” but hasn’t been, usually for tax or similar reasons, then the position is straightforward.The event did not happen during the time period required for the benefit so an attempt is being made to pretend that it did.This is a fraud on the tax authorities, a criminal offence and is likely to get the lawyer who prepared the document disciplined by his regulator and possibly also charged as a co-conspirator.The way your employer implements any contract change must not breach their duty not to behave in a way that damages mutual trust and confidence, or the implied duty of good faith.Where changes are made to your contract, employers must give you written notification of the change within four weeks.

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