The Government’s controversial increase in the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal from one to two years has moved a step closer with the publication of draft legislation that comes into force on 6 April 2012.
A couple of important points to note from the draft Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 (on the UK legislation website) are:
- The change will not be retrospective. Therefore, the current one-year qualifying period will continue to apply to employees who started employment with their employer prior to 6 April 2012.
- A consequence of this change is that the qualifying period that applies to the right to receive a written statement of reasons for dismissal (which applies in most cases) also increases from one year to two years for employees who start work with their employer on or after 6 April 2012.
The Government has also published the draft legislation to enable employment judges to hear unfair dismissal cases sitting alone. The draft Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012 (on the UK legislation website) take effect on 6 April 2012.