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Increase to the qualifying period
We recently let you know that there are plans afoot to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims to 2 years from the present 1 year. Those proposals are due to come into force for people employed on or after 6 April 2012.
The proposals are a step closer today with the publication of the draft order. The snappily titled The Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period ) Order 2012 (we assume the department for snappy titles was disbanded in the recent spending review) sets out the plan. It makes it clear that any employee whose period of continuous service starts on or after 6 April 2012 will be subject to the longer qualifying period.
Tactically then, employers might want to consider holding off the new starters until after 6 April 2012 which would then give them the benefit of the longer period in which to assess employees suitability for a role.
The automatically unfair reasons for dismissal such as discrimination, sex, race, Whistleblowing (and others) still have no qualifying period at all and employees are protected from day one.
Do you think it will make any difference? Let us know what you think.