Qualifying period for unfair dismissal
Qualifying period for unfair dismissal

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Qualifying period for unfair dismissal
  • Exceptions

For employees starting fresh employment on or after 6 April 2012, the right not to be unfairly dismissed generally only arises when the employee, by the effective date of termination of their employment, has been continuously employed for a period of at least two years. There are many exceptions to this requirement. See Practice Note: Continuity of employment for a discussion of the main principles to be applied when determining whether an employee has the required qualifying period of continuous employment.

The effective date of termination of employment will depend on the circumstances of the dismissal (see Practice Note: Effective date of termination).

Where an employee is dismissed without being given the statutory minimum notice (see Practice Note: Statutory minimum notice), their employment is generally treated as though it had been extended by the statutory minimum notice for the purposes of determining whether they have the required qualifying period of employment to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. In other words, the minimum statutory notice is effectively added to the period of employment to see whether the required qualification period is reached. However, the statutory minimum notice period is not added so as to extend the period of employment in circumstances where the employer was entitled to terminate the contract without notice, eg to summarily dismiss the employee for gross misconduct. For further