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In brief

The practice of ‘fire and rehire’, where an employer dismisses a worker and then re-engages them on different (sometimes perceived as less favorable) terms, is a current hot topic in UK employment law. The government has, to date, declined to legislate on the issue, although it stressed that the practice should only be used as a last resort. On 29 March 2022, the government announced that it would introduce a new statutory code on the practice, which will also detail how employers should hold fair, transparent and meaningful consultations on proposed changes to terms of employment.

Key takeaways

  • Courts and employment tribunals will need to take the code into account when considering cases, including unfair dismissal.
  • Unreasonable failure to comply with the code can give rise to an uplift of up to 25% in compensation for the employee.
  • Employers planning to change terms and conditions should watch for developments and take legal advice before taking any steps, given the increased risk of legal claims, adverse effects on industrial and employee relations, and reputational damage. 

New statutory code to prevent unscrupulous employers using fire and rehire tactics.

For advice or to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie contact.


John Evason manages the employment team in London. He is a specialist employment lawyer advising on all aspects of employment law. He is ranked as a star individual in Chambers and a leading individual in Legal 500. He is a member and former chair of the Legislative and Policy Sub-Committee of the Employment Lawyers Association which provides comments to the UK government on new and amended legislation and regulations. He is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars, and frequently contributes to various legal and personnel publications.


Annabel Mackay has extensive experience of advising employers and employees on a range of complex employment issues.
She has been ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners since 2015.
Chambers & Partners 2019 report that clients describe Annabel as: "supremely impressive and technically brilliant while also being commercially astute and incredibly bright."


Mandy Li is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie London office.

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