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17 November 2021

Acas published evidence on the use of fire and rehire practices at work in June and was asked by the Government to produce guidance to help employers explore all other options first.

It has now published Making Changes to Employment Contracts — Employer Responsibilities which can be found at www.acas.org.uk/changing-an-employment-contract/employer-responsibilities.

Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews said: “Our new advice is clear that fire and rehire is an extreme step that can seriously damage working relations and has significant legal risks for organisations. Employers should thoroughly explore all other options first and make every effort to reach agreement with staff on any contract changes.”

Organisations that are considering contract changes should, she went on, fully consult with all affected staff and their representatives in a genuine and meaningful way.

If both sides are finding it difficult to reach an agreement then Acas advice includes tips on how to:

•             keep discussions constructive

•             explore alternative options to reach a compromise

•             stay focused on trying to reach consensus.

The risks of using fire and rehire

These can include:

•             making it harder for both sides to reach a negotiated solution if employees feel “threatened” by an employer

•             expensive legal claims from staff who feel that they have been unfairly dismissed or discriminated against

•             reputational damage, which can make it difficult for an organisation to attract new employees

•             immediate and long-lasting damage to trust with staff

•             losing valued people because they do not accept the offer of a new contract, or staff leaving later due to unhappiness over the change or the way it was made.