Performance Improvement Plan UK

Performance Improvement Plan UKA Performance Improvement Plan UK can be an indication that your employer has concerns over your role. Employers will use performance improvement plans for different purposes. While some may try to support you with a well-drafted and constructive performance improvement plan, others may see the document as the first step in the dismissal process.

At Toner Legal, we represent employees facing challenges at work, including in respect of allegations of poor performance or failure to carry out their role satisfactorily. Performance improvement plan employee rights uk, is a niche area that can quickly become complex. It is vital to get a view on how this process is being used and what you can do in response.

If you are concerned that your employer does not have legitimate grounds to issue a performance improvement plan (often referred to as a “PIP”) or you feel that it has not been fairly imposed, we can advise you of your rights and take steps to prevent the situation from deteriorating. You are recommended to speak to an employment lawyer as soon as possible before your employer takes any further action. An employer dealing with performance management badly, can give rise to different Employment Tribunal Claims.

Our services for employees include:

  • Advice on your rights if you have been issued with a Performance Improvement Plan, sometimes referred to as a Performance Action Plan
  • Advice on constructive dismissal if you have been forced to resign
  • Negotiating a settlement agreement if your relationship with your employer is at an end
  • Representation if you have been unfairly discriminated against in being given a PIP

Advice on your rights if you have been issued with a Performance Improvement Plan UK

While some employers may use PIPs as a way to help employees improve and become more effective in their roles, in some instances, they may be imposed to push an employee out of a business.

If you have been given a PIP, we can go through its terms and advise you of the best course of action.

A PIP should be helpful to an employee and clearly set out the following points:

  • Where improvements are needed
  • What actions are required from the employee to make these improvements
  • What help the employee will be given to reach the required standard, such as mentoring or training
  • How improvements will be measured
  • When the situation will be reviewed
  • What will happen if the employee does not meet the required standard

If your PIP does not provide adequate guidance and support, we will advise you of your options.

We will take into account all of the circumstances surrounding the PIP, for example, whether you believe it has been unfairly issued because of a dispute between you and a colleague or manager.

Advice on constructive dismissal if you have been forced to resign

Resigning during a performance improvement plan UK is common, but it is rarely a good idea, particularly if you have more than 2-years of continuous service as an employee. If you are considering resigning because of your performance improvement plan, you should take advice first. We cover constructive unfair dismissal in more detail on our site (see our Top Tips).

If you feel that the PIP left you no alternative but to resign and it was imposed on you unfairly, you may have a claim of constructive dismissal. We will work with you to establish why the PIP was issued and any reasons why it might be unfair or discriminatory. However, often resigning and claiming constructive unfair dismissal is not the best way forward, as you may be in a good position to negotiate an exit, where you can leave your current role (without being dismissed) with a lump sum that will give you financial security whilst you look for a new job. An unfair performance improvement plan UK is a common segway to enable the parties to reach an agreement and avoid litigation, which can be expensive and lengthy.

Negotiating a settlement agreement if your relationship with your employer is at an end

If the relationship between you and your employer has broken down and you are in agreement that your employment will be terminated, we can represent you in negotiating a settlement agreement. This will generally include a payment to you in return for your agreement not to bring certain legal action against your employer.

We will negotiate robustly on your behalf to secure the best possible terms. The agreement will generally cover issues such as notice pay, holiday pay, compensation, non-disclosure, settlement of claims and provision of a reference for future potential employers. You must have independent legal advice if you are entering into a settlement agreement and your employer will pay towards the costs of this.

Representation if you have been unfairly discriminated against in being given a PIP

If you feel that you have been discriminated against by being given a PIP when others have not, we can advise you of your rights and, where necessary, bring a claim on your behalf.

This could be discrimination on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or being in a civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or being on maternity leave
  • Religion or belief


FAQs on Performance Improvement Plans UK

1. What is a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)?

  • A PIP is a formal document issued by an employer that outlines specific areas where an employee’s performance needs improvement. It includes the actions required from the employee, support to be provided, and the timeline for achieving the necessary improvements.

2. Can my employer use a PIP to push me out of the company?

  • While PIPs are designed to help employees improve, some employers may use them as a first step towards dismissal. If you believe a PIP has been unfairly imposed, it’s crucial to seek legal advice promptly.

3. What should be included in a fair PIP?

  • A fair PIP should clearly outline:
    • Areas needing improvement
    • Specific actions required from the employee
    • Support and resources provided by the employer (e.g., training, mentoring)
    • Metrics for measuring improvement
    • Review dates
    • Consequences of not meeting the required standards

4. What are my rights if I have been given a PIP?

  • You have the right to understand the reasons for the PIP, receive support to improve your performance, and be treated fairly without discrimination. If the PIP is unfair or discriminatory, you may have grounds to challenge it. A crucial point is often if you have at least 2 year of continuous service, because if not, you are not eligible to claim constructive dismissal or unfair dismissal.

5. Should I resign if I am given a PIP?

  • Resigning is generally not advisable. Seek legal advice before making any decisions. You may have other options, such as negotiating an exit or challenging the PIP. If you resign, you will become unemployed without an income and may have lost the chance to obtain financial compensation quickly.

6. What is constructive dismissal, and can a PIP lead to it?

  • Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns because their employer’s conduct amounted to a fundamental breach of the employment contract. An unfairly imposed PIP could be grounds for a constructive dismissal claim, but it’s important to seek legal advice to explore all options. Please note, you are only eligible to claim constructive unfair dismissal if you have been continuously employed for at least 2 years.

7. Can I negotiate a settlement agreement if my relationship with my employer has broken down?

  • Yes, if the relationship is beyond repair, you can often negotiate a settlement agreement. This typically includes compensation, notice pay, holiday pay, and a reference in exchange for not bringing legal action against your employer.

8. What if I believe the PIP is discriminatory?

  • If you feel the PIP was issued based on discrimination (age, race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity leave, religion, or belief), you may have grounds for a discrimination claim. Legal advice can help you navigate this process.

9. How can Toner Legal help if I am given a PIP?

  • We can:
    • Advise on your rights and the fairness of the PIP
    • Help you challenge an unfair PIP
    • Assist in negotiating a settlement agreement if needed
    • Represent you in cases of discrimination or other causes of action.
    • Provide guidance on constructive dismissal claims

10. What should I do if I receive a PIP?

  • Review the PIP carefully, understand the allegations and required improvements, and seek legal advice to determine your best course of action. Engaging a legal expert early can help protect your rights and interests.

Performance Improvement Plan UK – Contact us

If you have been given a PIP and you are concerned about your rights or your employer’s intentions, we will be happy to advise you.

Get In Touch

Please call us on 0207 118 9218 or complete a Free Online Enquiry and we will be in touch.