Petition Ban fire and rehire employment tactics
For far too long, the UK has turned a blind eye to the use of fire and rehire in the workplace. This is when an employer fires a current employee, only to bring them back on worse terms and conditions, all in the name of cost cutting.
It is time to end such a vile practice. Working rights should not be expendable. I call upon everyone who sees this petition to please sign and share, to tell UK parliament "we've had enough" of our nation's workers being used amd abused by corrupt employers.
This response was given on 11 May 2021
Government has been concerned by reports of employers using fire and rehire inappropriately. We asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise and will set out our next steps in due course.
From the outset of this pandemic, the Government has acted decisively to save lives and livelihoods. Through the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, we have helped protect 11.4 million jobs. As we build back better, the Government wants to work with employers to protect existing jobs and create new jobs. And we continue to support those on the lowest incomes - earlier this month, around 2 million of the UK’s lowest-paid workers benefited from increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. This included a 2.2% increase in the National Living Wage to £8.91, the equivalent of more than £345 extra per year for someone working full-time.
The Government appreciates that announcements about redundancies and job losses will be distressing for employees. The prospect of redundancy and changes to employment contracts can be deeply unsettling, with many workers showing great loyalty and commitment to their employers. As such, Government expects employers to act responsibly and with due consideration to their employees. This means that all negotiations over contractual changes must be done fairly and in good faith.
However, the Government has been concerned about reports that some employers were using fire and rehire tactics during negotiations. As such, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asked the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise to learn more about the use of ‘fire and rehire’ by employers. As an impartial and independent body, Acas held conversations with a balanced set of stakeholders including business groups, employer bodies, trade unions and professional bodies. Acas shared this evidence with BEIS in February, and the Government is now considering its next steps.
UK employment law sets out the statutory rights and responsibilities for individuals and employers in the workplace. If employers or employees want to change the terms and conditions of a contract, they must seek to come to an agreement. We expect employers to comply with their legal obligations and abide by fair processes when consulting with employees.
On matters of redundancy, the Government continues to strongly encourage employers to do the right thing. Legislation makes clear that the redundancy process should be fair and reasonable, with appropriate equalities considerations. Both employers and employees should engage in good faith and consult reasonably.
Employers carrying out redundancy consultations for the termination of employment for 20 or more employees in a 90 day period must follow a collective consultation process with trade unions/employee representatives, including minimum time periods for consultation, considering counter-proposals and exploring alternative options. Employees are also protected against discrimination during redundancy processes. If no such agreement is possible, employers can dismiss and re-employ employees on new terms and conditions.
Those with the necessary qualifying service who believe that they have been unfairly selected for redundancy, or that the redundancy was unfair in some other way, may be able to complain to an employment tribunal. Both employee and employers can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, who provide free advice to workers and employers to enable them to understand their rights and responsibilities.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament
Other parliamentary business
MPs to debate fire and rehire tactics
MPs will debate fire and rehire tactics on Tuesday 27 April in Westminster Hall. The debate is being led by Kate Osborne MP.
This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, and are responded to by a Government Minister, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.
The debate will start at 2.30pm and last for up to an hour and a half.
You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-04-27
Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/
Ministerial statement on Employment Rights
On Tuesday 8 June, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully MP gave a statement to the House of Commons on Employment Rights.
The Minister updated MPs on the Government's plans to address 'fire and rehire' practices. This follows the publication of a relevant paper by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), after they were asked by the Government to investigate this topic.
The Minister confirmed the Government has asked ACAS to produce new guidance on negotiating changes to employees' contracts, to help employers explore all options before considering dismissal and re-engagement.
Watch the statement here:
Read the Minister's written statement with further information:
Read ACAS' paper on this issue here:
What are Ministerial statements?
Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House.
Find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/