Government confirms that qualifying-period increase for unfair dismissal will not be retrospective

The Government has confirmed that the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal protection from one to two years will apply only to employees who start a new job on or after 6 April 2012. 

The two-year qualifying period will apply to employees who join an employer on or after 6 April 2012, whereas the current one-year qualifying period will continue to apply to employees who started their employment before 6 April 2012.  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has confirmed to XpertHR 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 regulations to extend the qualifying period, which will be subject to parliamentary debate, are expected to be published shortly. 


Resolving Workplace Disputes: Government response to the consultation (PDF format, 364K) Read the Government's full response to the consultation on the BIS website.