Every little helps – fire and rehire

“Fire and rehire” is a practice where an employer terminates a contract of employment and re-engages the member of staff with contractual changes.

This approach has proved rather popular in recent times, not least due to socio-economic factors such as the ‘gig economy’ and Covid.

But whether to introduce a “fire and rehire” policy is a contentious subject for many businesses in current times.  

Last month, the High Court granted an injunction against Tesco, preventing the multi-billion pound retailer from firing members of staff and withdrawing a ‘guaranteed’ financial benefit when re-engaging them under new contracts of employment.

The practice of firing and re-hiring has been widely criticised, with concerns raised in Parliament last year.

Any employer thinking about using fire and rehire practices would be wise to consider the ACAS guidance on how to make changes to employment contracts, and seeking practical legal advice on the terms of their employment contracts before proceeding.

Considering employment contract changes

A contract between an employer and an employee or worker is a legally binding agreement. A contract can be agreed verbally or in writing.

Any changes to the contract must be agreed by both the employer and employee or worker, or in some circumstances with a trade union or other employee representatives.

What to consider first

As an employer, before you propose an employment contract change, you should consider:
- what issue you're trying to solve
- if a contract change is definitely needed to solve it

This can help you be clear about what you want to achieve and the different ways you could achieve it.