Earlier this year, the Government published a consultation document entitled ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’. This sought views on various measures aimed at increasing employers’ confidence to take on more workers, encouraging the early resolution of disputes, speeding up the tribunal process and tackling weak and vexatious claims.
The Government has now confirmed that the qualification period for the right to bring a claim for unfair dismissal will be extended from one year to two with effect from 1 April 2012. It is hoped that the move will see a reduction in the number of unfair dismissal claims and save British businesses nearly £6 million a year.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “Businesses tell us that unfair dismissal rules are a major barrier to taking on more people. So today we have announced that only after working for the same employer for two years can an employee bring an unfair dismissal claim.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has also announced that, from April 2013, a fee will be payable by those bringing an employment tribunal claim. Successful claimants will have their fee refunded. The Ministry of Justice will shortly be publishing a consultation on the appropriate fee levels.