Dismissing Some Staff Becomes Slightly Less Risky on 6th April

Risk of Unfair Dismissal ClaimEmployers are often surprised to learn that they can dismiss some staff without having to worry about an ordinary unfair dismissal claim.

Employees who have been employed for less than 1 year aren’t allowed to claim ordinary unfair dismissal. This is known as the minimum qualifying period.

Last year, that minimum qualifying period was extended to 2 years. However, the law did not apply to any staff who began work prior to 6th April 2012.

That meant that anyone with a year’s qualifying service has still been able to claim unfair dismissal because, by definition, they started before the 6th April 2012.

The impact of the change in the law will be felt next month.

From 6th April 2013 until the 5th April 2014, the only employees who will have the right to claim ordinary unfair dismissal are those who began work before 6th April 2012.

Those who have started since then will not have had time to acquire 2 years’ continuous service. Those who started before then only need to have acquired 1 year’s service.

What does this mean for you?

It is good practice to review each employee well in advance of them achieving the qualifying period.

Put a note in your diary a couple of months before they acquire the right to claim unfair dismissal. At this stage, you should give serious consideration as to whether you intend to keep the employee on.

If you decide to dismiss the employee before the end of the qualifying period, you will probably save yourself a lot of hassle. They won’t be able to claim ordinary unfair dismissal and you won’t have to justify your reason to an Employment Tribunal

There are other types of unfair dismissal which do not require any minimum length of service. These are much rarer and beyond the scope of this blog.

Need legal advice?

If you’re considering dismissing an employee, you should get legal advice first, irrespective of their length of service.

Please feel free to give me a call for a free consultation on 01604 619 810.

Legal Advice for Employers