The law states minimum qualifying periods that you must have worked before you can bring an Employment Tribunal claim before an Employment Tribunal. These are as follows:

Qualifying Employment Period – Unfair Dismissal
2 years.

Qualifying Employment Period – Written reasons for dismissal
2 year

Qualifying Employment Period – Redundancy Payment
2 years

Qualifying Employment Period – Discrimination on grounds of Age, Disability, Gender Re-assignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex or Sexual Orientation
none

Qualifying Employment Period – Equal Pay
none

Qualifying Employment Period – Right to ordinary maternity leave
none

Qualifying Employment Period – Right to additional maternity leave
26 weeks at the beginning of the 14th week before the expected date of childbirth

Qualifying Employment Period – Parental leave
1 year

Qualifying Employment Period – Contract claim by employee
none

Qualifying Employment Period – Holiday pay (working time)
none

Unfair Dismissal – The 2 Year Rule

For unfair dismissal claims, an employee must now have 2 year’s continuous service.

If an employee is dismissed after 1 year and 51 weeks service without notice (of if applicable, 51 weeks), and in circumstances which do not permit summary termination for gross misconduct, the Tribunal can add the one week statutory notice, giving the minimum one year’s service for an unfair dismissal claim. The last day of employment would then be the date when proper statutory notice would have expired.

Exceptions

Although generally at least 2 year’s continuous employment is needed to be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim, if the dismissal is for one of the reasons below there is no qualifying period.

These are known as automatically unfair reasons and they include:

  • Health and Safety dismissal
  • Pregnancy related dismissal (only if the employer was aware the employee was pregnant)
  • Dismissal related to asserting a statutory right
  • Dismissal relating to Trade union membership or non-membership
  • Dismissal in connection with the national minimum wage
  • Dismissal connected with refusing to exceed the 48-hour working week
  • Dismissal for whistleblowing

Employers and employees need to be aware that just because someone does not have 2 year’s service they are not automatically barred from bringing one of the above claims.

If the dismissal is related to discrimination on grounds of Age, Disability, Gender Re-assignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex or Sexual Orientation, there is similarly no 2 year limit and no limit on the amount of damages the Tribunal can award for unfair dismissal.