March 27, 2012
On 3 October 2011, the Government announced that the qualifying period for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim will increase from one year to two years. This change will come into force on 6 April 2012.
In January 2012, the Government confirmed that the increase will apply only to employees who join an employer on or after 6 April 2012. The current one-year qualifying period will continue to apply to employees who started their employment prior to 6 April 2012. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) confirmed that "the objective of the policy is to encourage recruitment, [so it does not] believe that it is appropriate or necessary to apply it to those already in work". The transitional arrangements will be the same as those that applied when the qualifying period was last increased in 1985.
The draft order also increases the qualifying period that applies to the right to receive a written statement of reasons for dismissal, on request. The current one-year qualifying period (which applies in most cases) will increase to two years for employees who start their employment on or after 6 April 2012.