The magical 2-year line

The magical 2 year line

Unsurprisingly, we’re still SUPER busy here at Gap HR.

It’s usually when we’re in the middle of discussing staff member issues and that “they need to go”, that the manager pipes up with something along the lines of:

“I don’t need this person anymore. They aren’t performing, their attitude is bad, and frankly, they have been trouble since their first day of employment. Let’s get rid of them now!”.

“How long have they worked for you?”

“2 years and 2 months”

Laying aside the fact that part of a manager’s job is to “manage” poor performance, the most irritating part of this statement is the fact that despite believing that their employee “needs to go”, they’ve allowed them to drag their employment on over the magical 2-year line.

What is the magical 2-year line?

Well, one of the few “get out of jail free” cards that we employers have is our ability to let staff go without following a process if they’ve been with us for under two years.

All you have to do is tell them it is not working out and pay their notice period.

No 3-week consultation period, and no statutory redundancy pay.

Once you’ve gone over two years of continuous service, no matter what contract they are on, if you want to part company, you’ve got three options:

  • Performance disciplinaries (if there is anything concrete to discipline them on)
  • Restructuring of the whole department to lose their job (bit extreme)
  • Settlement Agreement (effective but expensive)

It is a LOT easier to terminate an employee at any point before the 2 years.

  • No process needed
  • No right of appeal
  • No right to protection from unfair dismissal

Not all the cards are stacked in your favour – all staff are protected from discrimination at every stage of the employment journey, and if you want to avoid paying the notice period, you will have to do a gross misconduct disciplinary process.

But for employees that aren’t quite right in their attitude or ability, you can just give notice.

Make sure you are really evaluating whether you want to keep any members of staff who are under 2 years of service.

The deadline to decide is 1 year and 10 months’ service – at that point, I’d advise you to take a long hard look at whether you want them to stay indefinitely.

If not, give them notice, but do it early enough so that the notice period does not take their service over 2 years.

It could save you a lot of hassle and a fair amount of money!

The magical 2 year line

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