With the pandemic affecting businesses around the globe, ‘Fire and Rehire’ has unfortunately become more common. In addition, many employees are being asked to reapply for their jobs and receiving different terms in return.

The Trades Union Congress has reported that since March 2020, around 9% of employees have been asked to re-apply for their jobs. This includes new contracts on worse terms and conditions. We’re all facing difficult times at the moment but it’s so important to lead with doing the right thing. In addition, changing terms should be a last resort.


What is ‘Fire and Rehire’?   

The practice of ‘fire and rehire’ generally occurs when an employer wants to change a staff members terms and conditions in their contract but the employee doesn’t agree. These changes can include reduction in hours, pay, employee benefits, and workplace changes.


Can you Legally Fire & Rehire an Employee?

There’s a small amount of ways an employer can change contracts:

  • The contract has a flexibility clause. This allows employers to make changes to certain terms and conditions in employee contracts.
  • If the staff member agrees to the changes after regular consultation


However, just because there’s ways you can legally change employee contracts, doesn’t mean you should. If you do, any possible changes should be made clear to employees and discussed before they are put in place. Again, businesses should explore every other way of cutting costs before even considering this avenue. Pushing through a ‘hire and fire’ procedure without agreement of the employee can in some cases lead to legal action.


The Legal Risks

If an employee has been forced to accept a contractual change and has worked for the company for more than two years, they possibly have a claim for unfair dismissal. In addition, it’s always better avoiding “Fire & Rehire if possible.

If you haven’t had regular consultation with the employee regarding the term changes, this can go against you during a tribunal hearing.

In addition, it’s important to show employees that they are important and only introduce changes and redundancies when you have no other option. We understand this is a very difficult time for many businesses around the world but it’s going to be your employees that will get your business through this. In addition, keep this in mind when making irreversible changes to your business.

If you would like any outsourced HR support, feel free to contact us now. We look forward to talking with you.

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