Government publishes draft order increasing unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years

The Government has published draft legislation, which, when enacted, will increase the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal from one to two years. The increase will apply to employees who start work with their employer on or after 6 April 2012. 

Under part 10 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee must have been continuously employed for at least one year to be able to claim unfair dismissal (except in specified circumstances). The draft Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 amends the Act, to increase the qualifying period to two years. 

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. 

The increase in the qualifying period was originally proposed by the Government in its public consultation on wider reforms on resolving workplace disputes. 

The draft Regulations also increase the qualifying period that applies to the right to receive a written statement of reasons for dismissal, on request. The current one-year qualifying period (which applies in most cases) will increase to two years for employees who start work with their employer on or after 6 April 2012. 


XpertHR's legal timetable provides summaries of forthcoming and recently implemented legislation, including forthcoming changes to employment tribunal procedure. 

XpertHR reports on "the most radical reform to the employment law system for decades"

The XpertHR employment law manual explains the law relating to Unfair dismissal: rights on termination and employees' right to a Written statement of reasons for dismissal