The Government are actively looking at the possibility of increasing the qualifying period that employees need to have before raising an unfair dismissal claim from 1 year to 2 years. No timetable has been given for this and it is likely that there will be a period of consultation prior to anything being implemented.

Whilst, if implemented, this change will make it easier for employers to dismiss employees with less than 2 years’ service it will still be possible for employees with less than 2 years’ service to raise claims for discrimination and also certain unfair dismissal claims where the current 1 year period does not apply including unfair dismissal claims relating to whistleblowing, certain health and safety issues and dismissals as a result of the employee exercising certain statutory rights.

Also, always remember that the 1 year qualifying period is slightly misleading. In most cases, due to the operation of the statutory notice period, an employee only needs 51 weeks' service to raise an unfair dismissal claim.