The Government has announced two significant changes to employment laws designed to favour employers, to come into effect in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
From 6th April 2012, employees will need to have been employed for at least two years before they can bring unfair dismissal claims.
Currently, employees gain protection against being unfairly dismissed only after they have been employed for a year (with some exceptions, where a dismissal will be automatically unfair, which will remain).
Employees will, however, retain the right to bring claims for unlawful discrimination without completing a qualifying period.
The Government has also announced the introduction of fees payable by individuals to bring tribunal claims against employers from 2013.
Although details have not yet been finalised it is believed that an initial fee of £250 will need to be paid by individuals to start a claim with an additional £1,000 for a claim to be listed for a hearing. A higher fee for claims valued at £30,000 or more may also be payable.