"Aussie Rules" to sack staff in micros
Employment Law & HR update 20/03/2012
Bosses in micro-businesses could find it easier to sack under
performing staff if changes announced by the government yesterday
go ahead. The proposals include a simplified dismissal procedure
used in Australia.
The proposals are contained in a "call for evidence" exercise to
test the appetite for slashing disciplinary and dismissal
procedures to the bare minimum in businesses employing fewer than
A linked proposal which would allow micro-businesses to sack
under performing staff in return for a pay-off is also under
The proposals are aimed at removing the "fear factor" of hiring
staff, especially in very small businesses which lack HR
However, the CBI's John Cridland, writing in the Times newspaper
yesterday, pointed out the government's record on employment red
tape made it "a better law- maker than a deregulator", with new
regulation such as the Agency Workers Regulations and the "badly
bungled" abolition of the retirement age adding to the burdens
faced by employers.
What's being proposed?
Two changes to disciplinary and dismissal regulation are being
- Simplifying the ACAS Code for discipline and grievances for
businesses with fewer than 10 staff;
- Allowing businesses with fewer than 10 staff to dismiss
employees without a reason, by making a payment similar to a
What's the upside?
Simpler disciplinary and dismissal procedures could help
employers who find the current ACASCode burdensome.
The facility to simply "pay off" poorly performing or
troublesome workers for an agreed payment would take the
uncertainty out of the dismissal process and reduce the fear of
What's the downside?
Even under a simplified disciplinary code, the onus would still
be on employers to prove they have acted fairly and reasonably when
they sack staff. Any changes to the current ACAS Code, which was
last changed only three years ago, will be disruptive.
Staff who are paid off under the “no fault" provisions will
still be able to claim unlawful discrimination, and employers may
be faced with trying to prove they haven't fired the worker due to
race, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation or religion or
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