An employer has the right to change benefits whenever she pleases, unless the company has specific employment contracts in place with employees guaranteeing them specific benefits for a particular period of time.
It is highly advisable to plan carefully and communicate as much in advance of the changes as possible so that people know what is coming in time for them to allow for the changes in their lives.
It is also a good idea to be prepared to clearly and concisely share comprehendible reasons for making these changes. If doing this type of thing will save jobs, for example, most people will understand.
If top management may consider adding back in some benefits being cut at this time once the economic climate is better, that knowledge will also make it more palatable to employees.
Question added to topic Human Resources • December 13, 2010
How can I reduce my employees' benefits?
All of my current employees were hired with these benefits in place.
Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.