Can we permanently appoint an employee promoted internally on a temporary post?

Posted in : Seamus Says - Employment Law Discussion on 11 January 2019
Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors
Issues covered:

Q: What is the position when somebody has been promoted internally on a temporary manager's post and now the employer wants to give them the job permanently?

Seamus: I think there are risks for the employer to do that. Where you have a permanent position and a permanent role, there could be scepticism among the existing staff that this person was selected for that role specifically for it to be made permanent and maybe it was just a trial period on the probation, that it was a bit of a full process.

The best approach for any employer is that where there are roles available—I'm not necessarily saying you have to go out externally for those roles if they could be dealt with internally, it's best to run the competition for them. It keeps you right and it keeps the dogs in the doors in the sense that you have some protection that you've ran a fair process in relation to it. If you don't, you leave yourself exposed.

It also fades back down into the motivation of your staff. If other roles come up, people may say that you are doing an internal trawl, there's a risk that somebody will say, "Well, what's the point in applying? In this office or in this organisation, they just hand-pick people for the roles. There's no point in me applying." You really are doing yourself a disservice, I think, at that level.

There is a very strong temptation to do that, where you have a temporary role, where the person comes in and they take the role on. They expand it and they give a justification for permanency of the role. They also feel like they have a sense of entitlement for that role as well. That can be difficult to manage from the employer's point of view. So, it's important just to be clear at all levels with all staff and that you're not creating any expectations or anything like that as well.

Scott: Even with that, if you were to advertise it, there's a very good chance that the other staff—this is a small employer—but there's a very good chance that the other staff would simply say, "Look, there's no point in competing against that person." They got the experience and the advantage with those types of things.

Seamus: Yes.

Scott: So, it's probably in the best interest of the employer to put it out there and say if anyone wants to apply, the other person, the person that's been doing the role, should have the advantage.

Seamus: You would've thought so.

Scott: And you would think they're likely to get the job. It may be that nobody bothers applying, in which case you've got around all this problem that you've previously had, where people feel that it's a job for the boys.

Seamus: Yeah. It's a potential solution of it. Absolutely.


This article is correct at 11/01/2019

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Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors

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