Qualifying period for unfair dismissal increases on 6 April 2012

As from 6 April 2012 employees must have two years service to claim unfair dismissal.

We would like to bring to the attention of employers that the qualifying period of two years service will only apply to employees starting new employment on or after the 6 April 2012.

It is therefore essential to clearly understand that any employee whose period of continuous employment began on or before 5th April 2012 will still be subject to the one year qualifying period.

Many of our clients consider it very important that they have the flexibility to take on new staff and to be able to assess their qualities and abilities, then if they turn out not to be “up to the mark”, then they understandably want to take advantage of the opportunities to dismiss them before they have been there for one year, safe in the knowledge that they cannot bring claims for unfair dismissal.

It is therefore important to understand exactly how the change to the “one year rule” has been implemented as many of the ill-informed articles in the press, which we have seen, would make employers think that the two year rule comes in to force immediately for every employee as from the 6 April 2012.

This is not the case.

We do therefore encourage you to contact us for reassurance in connection with any of your employees whom you are considering dismissing in order to fully understand whether they will, or will not, be entitled to bring claims of unfair dismissal.

If you require additional information in relation to the above or wish to discuss any employment law issue, please contact Jonathan Whittaker on 0844 391 5874 or any other member of our Employment team on 0844 391 5866.

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