Government plans to double the qualification period for the right to claim unfair dismissal from one to two years as part of a move to ‘increase business confidence to take on more workers’ are unlikely to help small businesses.

According to tribunal statistics published last year less than 22% of the 218,100 claims accepted by employment tribunals involved a claim for unfair dismissal and many were combined with a claim for some form of discrimination anyway. Plus there were almost 40,000 discrimination claims last year which will continue to be exempt from any qualifying period.

‘Small businesses face many challenges in dealing with employment law, but unfair dismissal isn’t likely to be very high on the list,’ said DAS Legal Advice Manager, Rhian Gait-Parker.

The Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications published last year by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills showed that 77% of unfair dismissal claims were made against organisations with at least 25 employees whereas such businesses represented only 66% of British employers according to the Labour Force Survey.

Author: Jon Robins

Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon’s books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council’s journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year’s Criminal Justice Alliance’s journalism award

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