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April changes to employment legislation

5 April 2012

On 6 April 2012, a number of significant changes to employment law come into force . Some of these include: extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims, employment Judges to hear unfair dismissal claims alone, witness statements usually to be taken as read in ET’s, and parties may have to bear witnesses’ expenses.

For those employed after 5 April 2012, the qualifying period of continuous employment is extended to two years before the right not to be unfairly dismissed, and the right to request a written statement of reasons for dismissal, is acquired. The TUC warns the changes will lead to a ‘hire-and-fire culture’ and may affect 2.7 million people, especially the young, women and ethnic minorities. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills maintain that anti-discrimination rules remain untouched so employees remain protected; they claim the changes will boost jobs and promote growth. The real effect of the changes will be determined by employment tribunal statistics, and as such, remains to be seen.

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