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Increase in unfair dismissal qualifying period will apply only to new employees

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BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) has confirmed that the change to the qualifying period from 1 to 2 years for raising an unfair dismissal claim will only apply to those starting a new job on or after 6 April 2012

Employees whose employment started before 6 April will continue to be able to claim unfair dismissal after one year's service. Therefore, someone with 18 months' continuous employment on 6 April will not lose their right to claim unfair dismissal, and an employee with 11 months' service on that date will still only have to wait one month before being able to claim.

Employers be aware

The aim of the Government in making the change is to reduce the number of unfair dismissal claims issued by employees especially in their first years of employment and to give employers greater flexibility in managing their workforce.  At first glance, employers will welcome the two-year qualifying period. However, one of the consequences of the change may be an increase in the number of breach of contract and discrimination claims, for which no qualifying period of service is required.

With employees also able to bring claims for discrimination without any service requirement, employers should ensure if they are seeking to dismiss before a two-year period (or at any time), they use consistent procedures and have evidence to demonstrate a dismissal was for a non-discriminatory or fair reason.

Contact us

To speak to an employment solicitor about dismissing and employee, contact our employment law team using the details provided below.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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