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Hiring and firing employees in the UK: What foreign companies need to know

Paul Marmor of Sherrards Solicitors, a member of the alliance's Global Mobility Services Group, explains the basics of employment law in the United Kingdom

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A critical two year threshold

"It is relatively straightforward to engage and let someone go in the UK within two years especially if there are performance or economic related issues. After the two year period, it becomes more difficult." Paul Marmor, Head of International Services, Sherrards Solicitors

Our series of Global Mobility video blogs looks at the different issues that will impact international companies that move people across borders or get involved in human resources issues in different countries. In this first video blog about employment law, we turn our focus to the United Kingdom and to Paul Marmor, Head of International at Sherrards Solicitors in London.

Under employment law in England and Wales, while engaging staff is a relatively easy matter, there are some restrictions that foreign companies must be aware of when it comes to letting employees go, comments Paul Marmor:

"You cannot let somebody go because of their race, sexual orientation or their physical disability, or more recently, their age."

Watch short video on employment law rules in the UK

Conditions that permit some flexibility for employers

Marmor points out that the process for letting people go or firing employees in England and Wales, and indeed in Scotland, is relatively straightforward within the employee's first two years, particularly if there are performance related issues or if there are economic reasons. However, Marmor is keen to emphasise that employees can still not be discriminated against for the reasons stated above.  

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A more regulated environment after two years of employment

Once two years has passed, Marmor points out that there is "a great deal of regulation for employers to contend with and restrictions will come into play due to restrictions imposed at the national but also at the EU level."

For more information about employment law in the UK

In the first instance, please contact Paul Marmor, Head of International at Sherrards Solicitors in London.