What’s the qualifying period for an unfair dismissal claim?

In most cases, you need to have been employed with the same employer for a minimum period of 23 months and 3 weeks with the same employer to make a claim for unfair dismissal- and not already been served with notice that expires before 2 years employment.

When people talk about having “2 years minimum employment” before being able to make a claim, the reality therefore is that it can be 1 week less. This is because you are entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week, and this week carries you over to the 2 years. Please note that your contractual notice does not carry you over- only the statutory 1 week period.

If your employer opts you pay you in lieu of notice, and gives that notice earlier than 23 months and 3 weeks, with your last day of employment falling within the 23 months and 3 week window, you would not be afforded unfair dismissal protection.

If that notice takes you over the 2 years, however, then you will qualify in being able to make a claim.


In some limited cases, there is no qualifying period required, and you can issue a claim no matter how long you have been employed. This applies where your dismissal relates to any of the following:-

– joining a union or choosing not to join one;
– for raising health and safety issues, or for refusing to work in circumstances of danger;
– taking part in activities as a pension scheme trustee;
– being, or proposing to become, an “employee representative”;
– being a shop worker or a betting worker who refuses to work on a Sunday;
– using certain rights covered by the Working Time Regulations;
– being dismissed for pregnancy/pregnancy related reason.

If your claim relates to discrimination, there is also no qualifying period.

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