In January 2020, the Government announced that it had commenced an investigation, with the help of Acas, into the practice of ‘fire and rehire’. This is the long-established process whereby employers dismiss under the employee’s current contract and offer re-engagement on new terms, when after consultation, agreement cannot be gained from employees to accept a change to their terms and conditions of employment.
Acas reported back to the Government and, shortly after, Acas produced guidance to encourage employers to explore all other options first before considering dismissal and re-engagement.
Following the dismissal of 800 P&O Ferries employees on 17 March 2022, without any consultation with them, their representatives, or the Government, the Government announced, on 28 March 2022, that it would be issuing a statutory code of practice on ‘fire and rehire’ practices.
In January 2023, the long awaited draft Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement was finally issued. Failure to comply with the Statutory Code will be taken into account when assessing the fairness of any resulting ‘dismissals’ and awards may be adjusted by up to 25%.