Employment e-Brief – Unfair dismissal qualifying period: increase to two years only applies to new starters

Friday 20th January 2012

The big change comes about on 6 April 2012 when the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years.

The question on everyone’s lips since then has been what will happen to those in the transition, i.e. where they have already accrued 1 year’s service. The government gave no indication how it would affect existing employees when the change was announced in October last year.

Although the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has not yet made a formal announcement, subject to Parliamentary approval, we understand that the new two-year qualifying period will only apply to employees whose employment begins on or after 6 April 2012.

This will be a relief to all those who are recent starters because those who are already in employment before 6 April 2012 will retain the current one-year qualifying period.

For further information or advice on any of the issues outlined in this e-Brief, please contact a member of the employment team.