According to today’s Mirror, the government is considering (“in leaked plans”) to double the qualification period for acquiring the right not to be unfairly dismissed to two years. At present, an employee needs to have 12 months continuous employment experience in order to be able to challenge the reason for their dismissal. Without that right, unless there is an issue of discrimination, whistleblowing, trade union membership or health and safety involved, the only challenge available to an employee is if they don’t get paid their notice pay.
If that is right and the government enacts these plans, presumably in an attempt to appease employers and the business community, it will severely restrict employees’ rights and will enable unscrupulous employers to dismiss employees without having to justify their actions or have fear of redress. It’s a regressive step and will turn the clock back approximately 20 years.
These “leaked plans” come to light less than two weeks since the number of redundancies predicted in the public sector (and the inevitable knock-on effect in the private sector) was announced: just a coincidence?
What next? A reduction in the maximum compensatory award?
(Thanks to @daniel_barnett for bringing this to my attention and @ljanstis for his input, both via Twitter)
PS. Lord Young announced on Radio 4 today (Monday 1st November) that the government is indeed considering this step,
Lord Young Radio 4′s – Government considering increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one year to two years.