One of the most significant changes to employment law coming into force on 6 April 2012 is the increase to the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims. Employees whose employment begins on or after 6 April 2012 will usually need to complete two years’ service with the employer before they can claim unfair dismissal. We outline what employers need to know about the change and how the qualifying period works in practice.
1. Will current employees be affected by the increase?
The increase applies only to employees whose employment begins on or after 6 April 2012. If an employee starts work for an employer on or after 6 April, he or she will not be able to claim unfair dismissal if he or she is dismissed within the first two years of the employment.
2. In what circumstances can employees claim unfair dismissal if they don’t have the qualifying service?
Listen to Jeya Thiruchelvam, Clio Springer and Sarah Anderson, employment law editors at XpertHR, explain when a minimum period of qualifying service is not required to claim unfair dismissal.
It is not always necessary for an employee to have accrued the required qualifying service to claim unfair dismissal. Some dismissals will be automatically unfair, regardless of how long the employee has been with the employer.
The qualifying period required for an employee to ask for a written statement of the reasons for his or her dismissal is also changing on 6 April 2012.
3. Who has the right to claim unfair dismissal?
There are other qualifying requirements for the right to claim unfair dismissal, in addition to the requirement to have worked for the employer for the relevant period, including that the individual must be an employee (as opposed to a worker or self-employed). Some classes of employee are excluded from the right to claim unfair dismissal.
4. What other employment rights do employees need qualifying service for?
While many employment rights apply from day one of employment, there are a number that an employee will be entitled to only after completing a certain period of continuous service.