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Employers will welcome further ACAS guidance on how to avoid firing and rehiring employees as a way to change their terms of employment.
Where employers wish to change one or more employees’ terms of employment and employee consent is required, but not forthcoming, a practice has developed of firing those employees and then offering to rehire them on the changed terms. Recently, however, this has become increasingly contentious. It certainly carries a legal risk of breach of contract and unfair dismissal claims (and sometimes PR risks too) if it is not carried out correctly.
Acas has therefore issued guidance ‘Making changes to employment contracts – employer responsibilities’ to help employers avoid having to fire and rehire, except as a last resort.
Although it is not legally binding, useful key points in the guidance include that:
The guidance also stresses the importance of documenting any agreement reached – particularly where it triggers a requirement to update the ‘employment particulars’ employers are legally obliged to provide to staff.
Employers should check out the ACAS guidance on the Acas website and, if they wish to change employees’ terms of employment, seriously consider taking specialist legal advice on how to achieve this in their particular circumstances without firing and rehiring.