Unfair dismissal update

Posted: 25th January 2012

EATThe Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has reportedly issued welcome clarification of the proposed application of the new two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.

This follows the government’s recent announcement that, from April this year, the key eligibility requirement for those wishing to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal would be two years, rather than twelve months, continuous employment.

The new qualifying period will only apply to employees who start a new job on or after 6 April 2012. Those whose employment began before 6 April will still only need to have been employed for one year to qualify.

Michael Williamson observes, “This is useful guidance. I have seen a trend in recent weeks of employees reviewing their situation, perhaps thinking that they need to do something before a deadline. This ought to calm things down.”

“It means that anyone who has been employed for at least twelve months on or prior to 6 April 2012 will see no change in their rights. For somebody who has been employed, say, eleven months at 6 April, they will still acquire protection in May”, he said.

It also means that employers who perceive a need to review a member of staff’s position before the expiry of the first twelve months still need to get on with it - they won’t suddenly be better protected come the morning of 6 April!”

We are told that regulations to implement the changes will be published shortly for debate in Parliament.