June 22, 2021

Fire and rehire’: ACAS suggests reforms

On 8 June, ACAS published a new paper on the use of ‘fire and rehire’ practices, after being invited to carry out an independent and impartial fact-finding exercise by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The report identifies various perspectives on the reasonableness of the use of the tactic, with some participants viewing it as reasonable only if used as a genuine last resort, and others expressing concern at the imbalance that it can bring to negotiations. The Executive Summary in the report suggested possible options for reform including options such as:

  • tightening up the law around unfair dismissal
  • enhancing the requirement and capacity for employment tribunals to scrutinise business’ rationale for change in relevant cases
  • protecting continuity of employment in ‘fire and rehire’ scenarios
  • strengthening employers’ consultation obligations around proposed dismissals
  • offering improved guidance for employers
  • using data on ‘fire and rehire’ to inform decisions around public procurement and access to government funding
  • publishing ‘name and shame’ data on employers’ use of ‘fire and rehire’ practices

Implications for employers

It remains to be seen whether any of these are taken forward, either from a legislative, or non-legislative perspective, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. In the meantime, we would refer readers to our original blog on this subject, which covers the context of when the use of this tactic may be appropriate, what you should look out for as employers and what other options might be available to your business.

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