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20th February 2012

Unfair Dismissal Qualifying Period & Written Reasons

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Back on 3 October 2011, as part of it’s initiative to improve business confidence and boost economic growth, the Government confirmed the qualifying period for the right to claim unfair dismissal would be extended from 1 to 2 years with effect from 6 April 2012 (see New Releases item 18 October 2011, “Government announcement on tribunal fees and unfair dismissal”).

At the time, no further detail was given so it was not clear if the change would impact on existing employees who may already have accrued 1 year’s, but not yet 2 years’, service by 6 April 2012.

The Government has now published the draft Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 which amends the relevant employment laws to increase the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal as well as entitlement to written reasons for dismissal from 1 to 2 years.

Whilst subject to Parliamentary approval, the Order also confirms that the changes will not affect employees whose period of continuous employment (which, generally speaking, will be the date that the employee starts their employment with an employer) commences before 6 April 2012. As a result, employees already employed before 6 April 2012 will retain the 1 year qualifying period.

For further information please contact Lynne Adams via email on