Termination of Employment
Dismissals are always a touchy subject, and must be handled very delicately.
There are fair and unfair dismissals, which are as follows:
- Fair dismissals: there are 5 potentially fair reasons for dismissals which are:
- Capability: if the employee is proven to be incapable to perform the work he/she agreed to do in the contract.
- Conduct: If the employee has behaved against the code of business conduct of the company he/she is working for.
- Redundancy: mentioned below
- Legal restriction: An example is if a heavy truck driver got his/her heavy duty licence pulled by the local authorities due to a violation, thus unable to perform the duties.
- Other substantial reason: Areas set by legal precedents.
Some examples include:
- Employee’s reliability to attend work.
- Employee’s quality of work.
- Employee’s language.
- The use of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Unfair dismissals: A dismissal is considered unfair if it was performed outside one of the above reasons.
Some examples include:
- Paternity or maternity issues.
- Disclosing fraud or corruption.
- Asserting statutory rights.
- Refusal to work on official weekends or holidays.
The exit interview is an important tool for both, the organization -represented by the human resources department- and the employee:
- Benefits for the company:
- It is an important source of information.
- Analysis of the exit interviews can provide relevant information that helps in the training needs analysis.
- It is a good source to improve recruitment activities and induction programs.
- It is a sign of a good culture in the company seen by existing employees.
- Benefits for the employee:
- It is a great opportunity to ‘make peace’ with the company.
- It is the place where issues mentioned will be taken seriously.
- It is the silent voice of current colleagues and co-workers.
Redundancy happens when an organization has more employees than there are activities, so the company then takes the decision to reduce the head count and this happens in the following cases:
- A transfer of business.
- A transfer of business at the employee’s site
- A reduction or transfer of work.
There are main stages that have to be followed in the case of redundancies:
- This is the first step that has to be taken.
- It has precise rules on length required to the numbers to be made redundant.
- Consultation has to be either with the trade union or an employee representative or the employees themselves.
- Consultation should seek avoidance of redundancies, by:
- Reducing labour cost (no overtime, less working hours)
- Lay-offs (a period of time where employees don’t work, and might not get paid).
- If it is not temporary, then second step is to look at “natural wastage”
- The company may even encourage this by
- Offering early retirements
- Reducing promotions.
- Steady wages.
- After this step, a recruitment freeze is put in place.
- Offering employees’ sabbaticals.
- Outplacements, career assistance or any other help to be offered to employees to find work elsewhere.
- Final step will be declaring “compulsory redundancies”
- Fair selection:
- All employees that are made redundant are to be selected fairly, and the company has to show such evidence.
- Companies usually tend to use the “last in, first out” rule, but it might be considered as indirectly discriminating on the basis of age.
- Dismissing employees whose skills are deficient is one fair way to go.
- Redundancy pay:
- Finally, after the employee is made redundant and is over 18 years old with two or more service years in the company has the right to redundancy pay.
- The amount can range from 1 week’s pay to 30 weeks’ pay, depending on age and service.