Dismissing Staff: Common Questions


We are not for a moment suggesting that we want more employees dismissed. What we’re trying to do is ensure that employers don’t overlook great prospective recent graduate employees because they are worried about how much risk they are assuming were they to decide that dismissing them was the best thing.

So, in order to explain exactly what is involved with probationary periods, internships and employees up to the two year mark, we have outlined the answers to some key questions.

What is the difference between an internship and a probationary period?

The difference between an internship and a probation period is in the messaging to your new hire. However, there is no material difference between the two legally. With an internship, there is a clear understanding that it will last a defined period, and the end of which, there may be an offer of a permanent role. With a probation period, there is an expectation that the position will become permanent at the conclusion of the probation period.

In both cases, it is entirely at the employer’s discretion as to whether or not to keep the hire in employment, which gives you the chance to see how much a recent graduate could add to your business without taking a risk- use them.

Q: Can I dismiss an employee after the probationary period?

And even after the probation period, an employee may be dismissed providing some very simple and reasonable criteria are met.

Q: When am I allowed to dismiss an employee?

You can dismiss an employee if:

  • they’re incapable of doing their job to the required standard
  • they’re capable, but unwilling to do their job properly
  • they’ve committed some form of misconduct

If you want to dismiss someone, there’s no specific process you must go through by law - as long as you do it fairly.

If a capability issue is linked to someone’s health, you should try as many ways as possible to help them to do the job before dismissing them.

Q: What changes after 2 years?

After two years things change slightly:

  • The employee has the right to claim unfair dismissal
  • The employee can claim statutory redundancy pay if they are dismissed due to redundancy
  • The employee can request written reasons for their dismissal

However, you can still dismiss the employee if there is a fair reason to do so.

Q: How much notice do I need to give them, and how much notice do they have to give me to quit?

The notice period for both you and your employee should be written into the employment contract. However, there are occasions where the employee can be immediately dismissed, for example if they are violent.

Below are some helpful links if you want to find out more about dismissal: