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A leaked draft of a government-commissioned report has provoked debate by arguing that the right to claim unfair dismissal should be entirely removed.The report, by private equity boss Adrian Beecroft, argues that making it easier to sack employees would mean that “coasting” workers could be replaced by more capable ones, boosting competitiveness and growth. The report has not yet been officially released but a leaked version was obtained by the Daily Telegraph and published on its website.The government has already announced that it is lengthening the qualification period before an employee can claim unfair dismissal from one year to two, in a change that will take place in April 2012. However, Beecroft’s report goes further and calls for the removal of unfair dismissal rights altogether."The rules both make it difficult to prove that someone deserves to be dismissed, and demand a process for doing so which is so lengthy and complex that it is hard to implement,” the leaked report reads. "This makes it too easy for employees to claim they have been unfairly treated and to gain significant compensation."It is understood that the report recommends the introduction of a “compensated no-fault dismissal” where employers must pay a fixed amount of compensation and notice pay when dismissing an employee, but the employee then has no right of redress. The report says that while it may seem “counter-intuitive” to make it easier for firms to remove staff as a way of promoting employment, the move would not fuel unemployment in the short term as sacked staff would be replaced, while in the long-term organisations would become more competitive and thus likely to take on new workers.Although the report was commissioned by the Prime Minister and its findings will be considered by the government, it is believed that the measures are unlikely to be adopted because they will be unacceptable to some ministers, especially the Liberal Democrats. Prominent Lib Dems have already made it clear they will resist any attempt to water down parental leave and flexible working rights, another theme in the review.Huw Rolant Jones, partner at law firm Eversheds, said that while getting rid of unfair dismissal might seem a step too far, the idea of a “lump sum termination” would be appealing to many employers.“Currently, a poor performance dismissal can take months, sometimes years, to happen, as evidence of the incompetence must be collected and reviewed with the employee, training identified and warnings to improve given,” said Jones. “This costly and time consuming process also adds pressure to colleagues, who often pick up extra work, and is upsetting for the individual involved. A lump sum termination agreement would provide both parties with certainty as well as a less stressful parting of the ways. The employee is guaranteed compensation without the ordeal and cost of pursuing an unfair dismissal claim against their employer. Clearly, the size of that lump sum envisaged by the Beecroft report needs to be clarified.”However, David Cubitt, head of employment at law firm Osborne Clarke, warned that a further erosion or removal of unfair dismissal rights would be likely to lead to an upsurge in discrimination claims.“The government should be wary of one possible indirect consequence of these proposals - that they may simply lead to an increase in the number of employees alleging that their dismissal was due to discrimination, which entitles an employee to claim potentially uncapped compensation.“Employment tribunals have the power to infer that a dismissal was discriminatory if the employer is unable to establish that the dismissal was for a non-discriminatory reason. If an employer sacks someone because they do not like them, there will be significant risk that a Tribunal could find that this was influenced by a discriminatory factor such as age, sex or race.”In order to avoid such claims, employers would still have to have clear evidence that the employee’s sacking was due to underperformance, undermining the idea of a no-fault dismissal that lightens the regulatory burden, added Cubitt.Unions expressed anger at the proposals.Sarah Veale, head of equality and employment rights at the TUC, described the proposals as "profoundly unjust" and “offensive” saying that Cameron should "throw the report straight in the bin".
For the (ex-)employee the real benefit of an Employment Tribunal claim lies not in winning (the majority of hearings go against the employee) but in knowing that it will cost their employer huge amounts of time and significant costs to defend it. In very few cases is there any recovery of cost and never of the time and the opportunity cost that time represents. In most circumstances employers make a commercial decision and settle for a compromise agreement rather than fight. <br/><br/>If the proposals can be made workable then the employee would benefit without the anxiety of engaging in what is a more stressful process than most appreciate. Employers would be able to get on with the business of growing the economy, to everyone’s benefit.
I am commenting from the antipodes without much detailed understanding of your UD law, so please forgive any unintended ignorance I display.<br/><br/>The broader idea seems to me to have some merit if some controls were also introduced. Controls could include limiting it to the first two years of employment, the need to have documented and tested an improvement plan and relatively high compensation (at least one months pay) plus statutory notice of at least two weeks. If this sort of process co-existed with existing law as an option, it may make some cases easier to resolve.
This is rather disappointing BUT then what do you expect from a Conservative led government. Under the present rules, if applied properly by an employer an employee can be dismissed from their employment. if the Government tries to take away the Unfair Dismissal claim rights, there is always a possibility that an employee may bring a claim for Discrimination or a breach of contract claim in the County Court. This is just another example of erosion individual's rights under this Government.
As usual, more hot air than reality. As any seasoned observer of politics should see this is clearly an Aunt Sally. I suspsct if it is implemented at all it will be a balanced effort with some form of compensation package for problem cases.<br/><br/>A rational debate would probably see the grain of sense in it which is to simplify performance dismissals. Rather than throw out UD laws we just need to slim down the ludicrously complex codes of practice that have burgeoned under Labour to gigantic proportions. The recent redundancy revision is now 40 pages when it used to be about 12. They are almost impossible for a SME to follow without expensive legal support.
If the compensation structure were right, then I think it is a very sensible idea. I have years of experience of dealing with dismissals for all sorts of reasons and it is over simplistic to say that there are 'always faults on both sides'. Whilst that may be true is some cases, it is by no means an established truism.
I completely agree. The very idea that the way to kick start the economy is to encourage managers to fire staff without any warnings or even giving a reason, let alone a chance to state their case and make attempts to improve, is beyond contemplation. Not only is there no evidence whatsoever that it would create one single new job, more importantly it flies in the face of natural justice. It would be like saying that the Police could turn up on your doorstep, arrest you and throw you in prison without telling you what you're accused of or giving you a chance to defend yourself, because gathering all that evidence and going through the Courts is just too much like hard work! As the previous writer says, it's often the case in employment situations that the employee is not entirely to blame - how often do managers fail to set targets properly or nip problems in the bud? How many appraisal meetings result in bland "average" scores because managers are uncomfortable with confronting issues or having difficult conversations? This proposal as it has been reported (which may not be the whole story) is more like what you would expect to find in a brutal dictatorship than in a liberal democracy.
What will be the position of a disabled person who is unfairly dismissed and discriminated against in a redundancy process? This proposal does not consider this.<br/>Under the present law an employer if challenged can remove this claim by offering an alternative position. No claim can then be made for unfair dismissal.
Sounds a bit like a standard compromise agreement to me :0)
This would be yet another excuse for lazy managers to avoid properly managing their staff.
Unfortunately, the full details of the proposal are not public yet. However, if this published recommendation is true and it is adopted ‘as is’, then it has trouble written all over it and would become another classic example of misguided thinking on the part of this government. <br/><br/>First, underperformance is usually a symptom of failings on both sides of the employment contract. Very rarely is it entirely the employee's fault that they are underperforming. Performance on the job is a variable, and it is dependent on many other things in the work environment. I fear that this proposal will give the impression that employers should not make the effort to invest in and engage with the people that they employ in order to get the desired results from them. It's more or less saying if their performance drops, don't bother finding out or trying to resolve the problem, pay them off and get rid of them. <br/><br/>What about the disruption to business, the impact on the internal climate within the business, and so on? The other side of the coin is when employees begin to enter into employment on the same basis; if an employer is not meeting the employee's expectations, jump ship and let go.
This government will look after the already powerful!! Big firms. they have Lawyers and HR departments to support them. They should not be freting over the issue of unfair dismissal if they followed thier own policies!! <br/><br/>This review highlights how the rogue employers want more powers and the government seems to support this!! <br/><br/>What we need is a balance between Labour and Conservitive policies!! This government was not even elected by the majority...<br/><br/>Stop making the position of individual vunerable employees even worse!
Coming soon... "Cleaner Chimneys Chief says get those primary school children doing something more useful"