Change in Employment Law

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This month saw changes made to employment law regarding the length of qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims. If an employee begins work on or after April 6th 2012, they will need to have completed two years’ service before they can claim unfair dismissal.

The below outlines 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?

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.

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.