Settlement Agreements and Qualifying Service

There is a myth that employees with less than two years service cannot bring Unfair Dismissal claims. This is not true. There are many circumstances in which employees can bring a claim for unfair dismissal even when they do not have two years of continuous service.

These include a discriminatory dismissal, dismissal for certain health and safety reasons, a dismissal for making a protected disclosure (whistleblowing), and where an employee has been dismissed for asserting a statutory right.

As there is no qualifying period for discrimination claims, they are often brought by unsuccessful job applicants. Unfair dismissal is not the only headline claim that you should be thinking about.

Even where a qualifying period is required, employees are entitled under statute to one weeks notice after their first month at work. This further week could take employees into the two years of service that they require.

Also the change to two years service does not act retrospectively. It is only valid for employees who started work after 5 April 2012.

Therefore, if offered a settlement agreement employees should always consider qualifying service.

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