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Unfair Dismissal Qualifying Period - Extension to two years will only affect new starters

Napthens - January 24th 2012

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has confirmed that the planned increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to two years will only apply to new starters.

Employees who commence employment on or after 6 April 2012 will need to have at least 2 years' continuous service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. Those employees whose employment commenced prior to 6 April 2012 will retain the current one-year qualifying period. Therefore an employee who has 18 months service in April 2012 will still have the right to raise an unfair dismissal claim.

The confirmation by BIS has ended speculation on whether the change would affect existing employees. The Conservative government adopted the same approach in 1985 when increasing the qualifying period to two years.

The regulations to extend the qualifying period are expected to be published shortly and will be subject to parliamentary debate.