Consultation on draft code of practice on dismissal and reengagement

Nearly a year after the infamous P&O Ferry hire and fire debacle, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a consultation seeking comments on a draft statutory Code of Practice that sets out employers’ responsibilities when seeking to change employment terms and conditions. The consultation document and the proposed Code can both be found on the GOV.UK website.

During the Covid pandemic, a number of prominent businesses tried to dismiss workers then take them back on the payroll under different terms and conditions and so the draft Code sets out employers’ responsibilities when seeking to change employment terms and conditions where there may be the prospect of dismissal and re-engagement. The draft code sets out a requirement for employers to consult staff and explore alternative options and prevents them from using the threat of dismissal to pressure employees to agree new terms.

The consultation remains open until 18 April 2023, after which a Government response and final version of the Code will be published.

Business Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “The Government has been clear that threats of dismissal and re-engagement should not be used as a negotiation tactic. Dismissal and re-engagement should only be considered as an absolute last resort. We expect all employers to engage meaningfully with their workforces and representatives, whilst considering all available options.”

It’s important for employers to understand that this move will not prevent them from securing changes to terms and conditions by dismissing and re-engaging employees, but it will put a ensure parity and consistency in the way that this is done, and prevent the “threat” of dismissal.

Should you wish to vary any of your employee’s terms and conditions, 121 HR Solutions can assist. Contact us on 0800 9995 121.

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