An employer might place an employee on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), if that employee is not carrying out work to a satisfactory standard. I have received many enquiries from employees who are concerned about being put on a PIP and what it might mean for them.
What is a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)?
If you are not considered to be performing to the necessary standard it is usual for your line manager to first bring this to your attention in an informal one to one meeting or an appraisal, before moving on to a PIP process, although this might not always be the case. A PIP should set out where you are failing, what improvements are expected of you and provide timescales for improvement. The PIP should also set out what sanctions there will be for failure to improve. If performance does improve there may be no need for any sanction. If performance does not improve this may, ultimately, trigger a dismissal process.
Is the PIP fair?
A PIP does not have to be a negative process. The purpose should be to help you get back on track. However it should also be a fair and objective process. You may be concerned that your employer has an ulterior motive and wants to get rid of you. There are several things that might point to an unfair PIP. For example:
- You have a long period of service and a history of good performance with no previous issues having been raised. The decision to place you on a PIP is therefore surprising.
- Your workplace relationships may be a factor. If you have a difficult relationship with your line manager for example, their decision to place you on a PIP may be more to do with your relationship, rather than the standard of your work.
- Are you being treated the same as colleagues who have similar roles and standards of work or have you been singled out for a PIP?
- Does the PIP put forward unrealistic targets or timeframes for improvement? Are you being set up to fail?
- Is your employer reorganising its business? It may be more cost-effective for your employer to try and manage you out of the business rather than pay redundancy.
What should I do if I disagree with the PIP?
If you are faced with a PIP and think it is unfair you should make that clear to your employer. If you cannot resolve the matter informally then you may wish to lodge a formal grievance, setting out clearly why you disagree with the PIP.
What might be the alternative to proceeding with a PIP?
If you feel that the PIP is unfair or that, whatever the outcome of the process, the relationship between you and the employer has broken down, it may be possible to come to an agreement with your employer to leave your employment on mutual terms. Alternatively you may be approached by your employer and offered a financial settlement as an alternative to the PIP. Either way, you should take legal advice before you make a decision so that you know your options including whether what is financially proposed is reasonable in the circumstances. If you agree to leave your employment you will be asked to sign a settlement agreement on which you will need to take legal advice.
In some cases, where being placed on a PIP makes the relationship with your employer untenable, it can amount to constructive dismissal. Again, you are strongly advised to take legal advice so that you can make an informed decision, before you take any action.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are being subjected a performance process at work, call one of our specialist employment law solicitors for a first free consultation on 01522 440512. Alternatively, for more information about performance management procedures, visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/performance-procedures/ We can help.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
LincsLaw Employment Solicitors
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