Protected or vulnerable

In April 2012, the qualifying period of employment before employees are protected from being unfairly dismissed will increase from 1 year to 2 years.

The Government has not yet told us how this will work in practice.

Our view is:

(i)  that employees who have more than 1 years service but less than 2 when the law changes will not lose their right to claim unfair dismissal (if dismissed before 2 years service has accrued);

(ii)  employees who have less than 1 years service but are employed when the law changes will probably remain subject to the 1 year qualifying period;

(iii)  employees joining after the law changes in April will be subject to the 2 year qualifying period.

Probably the major doubt is in relation to (ii) above.  It remains to be seen how the law will be drafted.