Bishop & Sewell
Flower

We are seeing a sudden move towards “The Great Resignation”, the mantra first coined by Anthony C. Klotz an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University.

The world of work has been changed forever by the pandemic. The commute to and from work has been replaced with more family time and hobbies. For many, mindfulness has brought about a better and healthier work/life balance.

There are several online surveys conducted by companies such as Personio (a HR software company) and Gensler’s which are showing statistics of a UK workforce leaning towards hybrid working.

In addition, the Microsoft Work Trend Index (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index) found that 40% of the global workforce are considering leaving their current jobs in 2021. Kamal Janardham a General Manager at Microsoft, who has spoken on this topic says: “The flexibility and agility is something that people appreciate, and it’s here to stay.

What is driving this move towards the great resignation? Certainly, a reluctance to allow remote working and flexibility could be playing a part. Employees who had never experienced the opportunity of remote/flexible working have fully embraced it and do not want to go back to pre-pandemic office life. They may be feeling strongly enough to resign if their covid working pattern cannot remain in place. They will know that other companies can and will offer flexibility. To retain the best talent, employers may need to promote remote/flexible working as the world opens up again.

The government is considering new right to work remotely. Watch this space.

Some employees are feeling disenchanted and burned out as a direct result of being pushed too hard whilst working from home in line with the expectations of their employers. Or about the blurring of day and night so that calls and e-mails are happening early in the morning and late at night. 37% of the global workforce as published by The Microsoft Work Trend Index have expressed that companies are asking too much of the workers during the pandemic which may be the last straw to resignation.

Our team is dealing with concerns from employees feeling that their homes have been invaded by their office not only as a result of calls and e-mails at antisocial times but also by a culture where there is a lack of trust about employees working from home. They are feeling unhappy about the use of software to monitor their activities or scrutiny over when they are and are not online. This has led to a breakdown of trust and confidence in some employment relationships.

Some employees are just feeling disconnected from their current employment. Without regular communications with their colleagues and social gatherings, they have drifted away and no longer feel a sense of belonging with the values of their employer being lost.

Where employees have a new role, they may just simply be resigning and giving their notice.

But we are seeing an increase in resignation letters citing constructive dismissal due to breach of contract typically the implied term of trust and confidence. In other words, an employee is turning their resignation into a dismissal. Employers take from this that a constructive unfair dismissal claim is coming their way (where employees have 2 years of service entitling them to the protection of the unfair dismissal laws).

Resignation letters about constructive dismissal need to be written carefully. An employee should explicitly state that they consider themselves to have been constructively dismissed and refer to a fundamental breach of contract. The term should be referenced (the implied term of trust and confidence, for example) and details of the breach should be set out. Delay is problematic to a potential constructive dismissal claim also and employees need to move fast after the breach to resign. If they delay, the breach does not look serious and a fundamental breach.

It is possible to resign in this situation either with or without notice.

We are expecting a turbulent time ahead in the world of employment law, in particular when the furlough scheme ends. The resignations we are seeing may just be the start of it.

Next steps

For initial advice please contact Kloarba Dema or Rhian Radia or to arrange a meeting with one of our team, please email employment@bishopandsewell.co.uk or contact 020 7631 4141 and ask to speak to our Employment team.

The above is accurate as at 18 June 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Category: News | Date: 18th Jun 2021


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