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Unfair Dismissal

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any legal challenges have been brought to the qualifying period for the right to claim unfair dismissal. (95305)

From 1985 until June 1999 the qualifying period for unfair dismissal was two years. The validity of this period was unsuccessfully challenged in “R v. Secretary of State for Employment, ex p Seymour-Smith and Perez”. The Department is not aware of any further challenges to the qualifying period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will abolish the one-year qualifying period that exists before unfair dismissal may be claimed. (95306)

The Government believe that the one-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal achieves the right balance between fairness for employees and flexibility for employers. We reduced the qualifying period from two years in 1999.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases of unfair dismissal were successful at tribunal in each of the last three years. (95307)

The Employment Tribunals Service annual reports and accounts provides a breakdown of the outcome of cases by jurisdiction, summarised in the following table.

Outcome of unfair dismissal claims 2004-06

Disposed of

Successful at Tribunal

Percentage

2003-04

40,927

4,363

11

2004-05

35,482

3,493

10

2005-06

35,415

3,425

10

Source:

ETS Annual Reports (Table 2), 2003-04 to 2005-06