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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I have been put onto a performance improvement plan (PIP) , with very evidence and wan

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Hi I have been put onto a performance improvement plan (PIP) , with very evidence and want to know my options. As the stress is building up. I am expected sign to agree to the PIP this Monday. Should I go off sick before I sign or should I sign and then go off sick the next day? Then come back after a couple of months and give the PIP a go if I haven't found another job by then? Just that I don't want the company to change the PIP and make it harder for when I come back if I haven't signed. What is an allowable time to be sick for the PIP to still be valid for when I come back? Please advise. I signed the employment contract 2 years ago but have actually worked for 1.5 years as I started a little later. Also can I submit a grievance whilst I am off sick and does it matter if I have signed the PIP or not? Thanks Viv
Hello what triggered the PIP?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi a "needs improvement rating" at the end of last year without any warning
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ben are you still able to provide advice online?
Yes I am leave it with me please and I will reply fully later today on here
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks I look forward to your response
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I forgot to mention that my son had a bone marrow transplant last year and I had to take a couple of months off work under compassionate leave, last year to help look after him.
Thank you for your patience. A PIP is an opportunity to formally highlight issues your employer thinks you are facing in the workplace and help you improve. However, at the same time, it does allow them to eventually show that they have followed a fair procedure in dealing with performance issues, which if not satisfactorily resolved could lead to dismissal. The issue here is that until you have at least 2 years’ service with the employer you are not protected against unfair dismissal so whether there was a PIP or not, they can dismiss you for more or less any reason. If they really wanted to dismiss you they could do it straight away without the need for a PIP so the reason they have offered one may be that they are genuinely trying to help you improve. If you want to try and keep the current PIP then it is best to get that signed off before you go on sick leave. It does not mean that the employer cannot change it after that but the chances of that happening would be lower. Also there is nothing in law which states how long you can be off sick and return to the same PIP – this depends on the PIP policy and the employer and in your case with less than 2 years’ service, your rights are rather limited s even if they completely changed it you cannot really challenge it. You are free to submit a grievance at any time, whether you are off sick or under a PIP. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben,
Thank you for your response, just to clarify a couple of points. I started work at the end of May 2014, does this mean if I am sick until May and then return to work will I then be protected for unfair dismissal going forwards? Alternatively if I go off sick due to stress for a few weeks then return to work, start the PIP and then go off for stress again to carry me until May, will that also work, if the preferred first option is not feasible? Is there a possibility that I could be dismissed due to work related stress before May? My contract states I am entitled to six months sick leave with the level of service I have under my belt. I am not absolutely convinced the company does want to help as the evidence was a tiny amount of heresay, as opposed to anything tangible. I thought I could only be dismissed on the spot for gross misconduct once you are passed your probation?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you want me to rate you for credit now or do we do it at the end. Just that I don't want to loose you on the platform if I rate you now
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben, I have just completed the rating, I would be grateful if you could respond to my follow up questions - thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also if I am on the PIP after the end of May, will that still mean I am protected for unfair dismissal as it has taken me past the two year mark?
Thank you. Yes, periods of sickness count towards your continuous length of service so assuming you remain employed past your 2 year anniversary you would be protected against unfair dismissal, whether you are on sick leave, PIP or anything else. However, until then the employer could dismiss you for more or less any reason. There are some limited exceptions, mainly relating to discrimination, but unless your medical condition is serious and likely or lasted for more than a year, it will not qualify. It is true that after passing probation you can only be dismissed on the spot for gross misconduct but you could be dismissed for other reasons with notice – so it is not ‘ on the spot’ as such – that means without notice, they can dismiss you with notice if necessary.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would work related stress be considered as a serious medical condition to mitigate against dismissal?
You need to show you have a disability to qualify for protection. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’. The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break this definition down:Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.) So this is what you have to show to be considered disabled and have protection against discrimination.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Ben by signing the PIP am I admitting poor performance? and can this influence unfair dismissal/the outcome of a tribunal or the weight of the grievance? Also if I sign the PIP do I need to add a disclaimer to it? If so what should it say to protect myself?
You are not admitting poor performance as such you are just agreeing to go through the employer’s plan. One may argue that one follows from the other but in reality you are only agreeing to the conditions of the plan. Having gone through a PIP will assist in showing an eventual dismissal is fair because if the employer just dismissed without giving you an opportunity to improve, the dismissal could be unfair. You do not need any disclaimers to the PIP. Remember that you are limited I right at this stage so do not be too difficult or pushy – they could just decide to dismiss you as a result, before you have any rights. So play the game so to speak, do as proposed without appearing too difficult and challenging, even if you do not fully agree to this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Ben for your advice
You are welcome