Will the increase in the unfair dismissal qualifying period delay recruitment decisions?

by Laurie Anstis on February 21, 2012

The government have now published the draft legislation increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years.

That makes it clear that the new two year qualifying period will only apply where an employee’s continuous employment begins on or after 6 April 2012.

Savvy employers looking at recruiting a new employee in the next month or so may well look to postpone the start of employment until 6 April in order to ensure that the two year period applies to the new employee.

It will be interesting to compare the figures for the number of new jobs created in March and April this year. A large increase in new jobs in April compared with March will only show that employers have postponed recruitment decisions until after the new rules come into force. It will be later in the year that we can consider whether the increase has achieved its stated aim: “to give greater confidence to employers in recruiting new employees”.


[…] well as the draft statutory instrument setting out the increase in the unfair dismissal qualifying period, we now have the draft statutory instrument enabling employment judges to sit alone in unfair […]

by Judges sitting alone in unfair dismissal cases | Work/Life/Law on 21 February 2012 at 2:50 pm. #

I’m starting a new job in March so it clearly hasn’t put everyone off!

I’m not really convinced myself. I have acted for a lot of startups and SMEs and I have rarely if ever heard anyone express the view that they are holding off on hiring someone because they worry that it will be difficult to fire them after 12 months.

Firstly, if you are hiring with this kind of attitude you are probably in trouble anyway, but more importantly if it isn’t clear after a year whether someone fits the role and performs well then when will it be?

I don’t know what your experience is as an employment lawyer, but generally it seems to me that either there are problems right away or people perform well, but then issues arise a few years down the line for whatever reason.

I suspect this will decrease the perception of job security for employees (possibly with this lack of confidence having a knock-on effect for the larger economy) but not have any real beneficial effect on employment figures.

by Peninsulawyer on 21 February 2012 at 10:06 pm. #

I well remember an article in the quality press just before the last Labour Government reduced the qualifying period. Written by a well known employment solicitor, it encouraged employers to get shot of “dead wood” with insufficient qualifying service under the existing law before it was “too late”! That’s what I call taking a commercial view…

by Mark Benney on 21 February 2012 at 11:59 pm. #

[…] new recruitment until after 6 April, when the new employees will have fewer employment rights. As Laurie Anstits says, if Liam Fox, Jeremy Warner and others are right, we should see a spike in recruitment after 6 […]

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