On 6 April 2012, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years. Further details are here.
When the government announced this change in October 2011, it did not confirm whether it would affect existing employees (who may already have qualified for unfair dismissal rights) or just new joiners.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has now confirmed that the regulations that will implement the change will, subject to Parliamentary approval, state that the new two-year qualifying period will only apply to employees whose employment begins on or after 6 April 2012. Employees who are already in employment before that date will retain the current one-year qualifying period.
The Government estimates that the change will save businesses £6m per year, with a reduction of 2,000 unfair dismissal claims per year.
For further details of other employment law changes taking place in 2012, please click here.