Regulations to increase the period of qualifying service needed to present an unfair dismissal complaint to an Employment Tribunal have been made  – see the The Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012.

The change will take effect for employees whose continuous service begins on or after 6 April 2012 and for such employees will mean that 2 years’ service is required before an unfair dismissal complaint can be presented.

Employees who start a new job on or before 5 April 2012 will still only require one year’s service to present an unfair dismissal complaint.

Employers thinking of taking on new employees in March or April may wish to consider delaying any appointments until 6 April 2012 or later.

Employees changing jobs (and particularly those giving up a secure job for a new opportunity) may wish to seek to negotiate a longer notice period in order to protect their position should their new employer decide to dispense with their services within the first 2 years of their employment.

The length of service needed to request a written statement of reasons for dismissal will also increase to 2 years on the same date.