Following a review by ACAS in the summer on the practice of using 'fire and re-hire' to make changes to contracts of employment, ACAS has published new guidance aimed at maintaining employment relationships and reaching agreement to contractual changes.

The guidance is available here, and is a useful reminder of involving employees when an employer is exploring options for change. There is particularly helpful guidance on dealing with employees who may be absent, or who may need information communicated in a certain way due to disability or language barriers.

One of the important considerations will be presenting the need for the change, and what alternatives have been looked at. ACAS provides a handy list of information to be provided to employees, as follows:

  • what the proposed changes involve
  • the business reasons for the changes
  • when the changes will be introduced
  • views on how the changes could benefit employees
  • views on how the organisation will be affected if you do not make the changes
  • what the proposed new or revised contractual terms will look like

The advice goes on to explain alternatives to contractual changes, such as relying on flexibility or variation clauses in contracts, as well as offering practical tips on consultation processes and engagement with trade unions.

Given the move into hybrid working, this guidance will be particularly informative for employees dealing with flexible working requests from employees.