Just before Christmas, the government passed legislation reintroducing 90-day trials for all employers, regardless of how many people they employ. Up until now, employers have only been able to use the 90 trial period if they had fewer than 20 employees.

What does it mean for you?

This change came into law on 23 December 2023 so you can use it straight away with all new employees. While this will make it possible for larger employers to dismiss an unsuitable employee within the first 90 days, it is not a bulletproof solution. The trial period protects you from a personal grievance for unfair dismissal, but it does not protect you from a personal grievance or legal action for other reasons e.g., unjustified disadvantage, discrimination, sexual harassment, racial harassment, duress about union membership or activity, breaches around hours and shifts, or health and safety retaliation.

Preventing problems

It is important to get your recruitment right because one person can do a lot of damage in 90 days! Recent examples we have dealt with for clients include inferior work requiring expensive remediation and a client nearly lost an ongoing contract due to poor behaviour of an employee. Not to mention the stress that was on the employer to manage the situation.

Top tip

Our number one tip for getting recruitment right is to ALWAYS get two references. One should be the current employer – not a colleague or friend! Apart from asking the normal questions about how the prospective employee does their job, don’t forget to ask about timekeeping, absence, honesty and behaviour. These are the issues that cause the most problems. And finally, always ask “Would you employ this person again?” If they say that they wouldn’t, that is a neon flashing sign that you should find out more information before employing them.



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