Performance Improvement Plans often lead to Settlement Agreements. But what are they, and what are your rights?

What are Performance Improvement Plans?

Performance Improvement Plans (also commonly referred to as “PIP’s”) are used by employers as a means of tackling poorly performing employees and can lead to the dismissal of an employee on capability grounds. It is often, therefore, seen as a tactical step by an employer to reduce any risks to subsequent claims for unfair dismissal from employees.

What happens when you are placed on a PIP?

In the first instance, you should be informed of the PIP in writing and you should be asked to agree and sign the document.  The PIP should clearly set out the areas in which you have been failing. It should further specify the improvements that are expected of you, including measurable objectives as well as the time frame within which you should achieve your targets. It should also set out the frequency of reviews, any support or training that will be provided and the consequences of failing to achieve your targets.

Employees on PIP’s usually find that they are subjected to strict targets of improvement which are usually set to be achieved in a short period of time. The targets can often be seen by such employees to be unreasonable in nature and equally, unattainable. If you have been subjected to a similar PIP, you might question the reason behind which you were placed on a PIP. This might give you an indication as to the real reason for the PIP and allows you to prepare for the possible outcomes.

What are the options available to you?

At the first opportunity, you should seek legal advice if possible. It is sometimes common for employees to seek legal advice at the later stage of a PIP and near to their dismissal. Although it is not too late to obtain a settlement for such employees, it can sometimes make it difficult to negotiate and obtain an optimum settlement. Read more..

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