The Daily Mirror reports that the government is planning to double the qualifying period that staff must work before they can claim unfair dismissal.
As things stand, most employees must have a year's continuity of service at the date their employment comes to an end, or else have been dismissed without notice within a week of gaining a year's continuity of service, to claim unfair dismissal.
According to the Mirror, leaked papers show that David Cameron wants to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one year to two years.
This would reverse the reduction in the qualifying period enacted by the previous Labour government in the Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order of 1999, SI 1999/1436.
Cameron plans to pitch the change as part of a "pro-business" crusade to increase UK competitiveness and reform the economy in line with more flexible labour markets in the Americas and Asia.
The leaked proposals have already drawn stinging criticism from union bosses.
Responding to last night's leak, Unite union assistant general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This is turning the workplace clock back to the 1980s with a vengeance. Thatcher's heirs are again putting business ahead of ordinary people's interests."
The government has yet to comment on the leak.
What is unfair dismissal?
Unlike wrongful dismissal -- which is essentially a breach of contract claim -- unfair dismissal is a statutory creation. It was first introduced into English law in the Industrial Relations Act 1971. Thus the right not to be unfairly dismissed only exists if statutory conditions are satisfied. Read Unfair dismissal FAQs to learn what the conditions are and whether you qualify.
- David Cameron's war on work rights (Daily Mirror)
- Unfair dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Wrongful dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Can I claim both unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal? What's the difference? (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Unfair dismissal law news (The Solicitor)
- Wrongful dismissal law news (The Solicitor)
- Employment law Q&A (Community)
- Find an employment solicitor (Contact Law)