JMW Solicitors say Employers will gain nothing from Changes to Unfair Dismissal Rights

Doubling the qualifying period for employees to claim unfair dismissal is likely to make employers to neglect their duty in effectively managing their employees for even longer.

The changes that have been proposed regarding the qualifying period of unfair dismissal cases will have little or no effect on employers; this is according the JMW Solicitors, the employment law specialists.

The Government has recently announced that, from April 2012, the qualifying period of service need to bring a claim of unfair dismissal will double from one year to two years. This is a move expected to both reduce the number of employment tribunal claims as well as stimulate economic growth.

With the current system, any employer can remove an employee from their job at any time during their first year of employment without any fears of having an unfair dismissal claim launched against them. However, Ian Tranter, head of the employment law department at Manchester-based JMW, believes, in reality, the reforms will not help employers and are simply a “government sound bite”.

Although he admits that the measure is likely to reduce claims against employers, he explains that by doubling the qualifying period, bosses will spend double the amount of time spent “acquiescing in under-performance”.

This, Mr Tranter says, is because under the current system, employers seem to be prepared to tolerate the under-performance of employees for the period during which it remains safe for the bosses to sack them. But this obviously means putting up with a poor job being carried out for nearly a year.

“Consequently, doubling the qualifying period is likely to encourage employers to neglect the effective management of their employees for twice as long as they do now,” he notes.

The employment law expert went on to state: “Regulation which encourages pro-active and positive management helps both employers and employees, but that which fosters contempt deserves contempt.”