Consultation is key!

New research released in September by the CIPD suggest that one in five employers have made changes to their employees’ terms and conditions of employment between March 2020 and July 2021.

Whilst many changes were to be expected due to the impact of the coronavirus, not all changes to terms and conditions over the period were negative.

The most common changes were to:

  • location of work at 49%,
  • hours of work at 47%
  • pay levels at 44%,
  • redundancy/terms pay at 22%
  • access to enhanced contractual entitlements/incentives at 20%.

Among businesses that made changes to pay levels, 50% improved pay, while an additional 38% reduced pay. On changes to working hours where these were made, 44% of employers reduced working hours, compared to 24% of employers who increased them.

The CIPD’s survey of 2,000 employers found that while 19% changed terms and conditions through consultation, negotiation, and voluntary agreement, three per cent – the equivalent of 42,960 employers in the UK business population – did so through dismissing staff and rehiring them on new terms, also known as ‘fire and rehire’.

According to the Sun, British Gas fired around 500 workers who install and repair boilers and heating systems as part of a “fire and rehire” scheme.

The CIPD said “While our research shows this is not a widespread tactic, more progress can still be made in avoiding this practice, which creates a high risk of legal claims, reputational damage and an adverse effect on employee relations”.

Changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment should always follow extensive guidance from 121 HR Solutions in relation to consultation and the decision to dismiss should be when all other alternatives have been considered!

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