By Marcus Leach

Changes to unfair dismissal rules which could save nearly £6 million a year for British business have been announced today (Monday) by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne.

Monday’s decision will see the qualification period for the right to claim unfair dismissal extended from one to two years. This will come into force on 1 April 2012. This is the latest development in the Government’s workplace reforms which aim to increase business confidence to take on more workers.

Changes to the unfair dismissal rules follow the ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ consultation published in January this year which also proposed measures to encourage early resolution of disputes, the speeding up of the tribunal process and measures to tackle weak and vexatious claims.

These combined proposals should see the number of unfair dismissal claims drop by around 2000 a year.

“The priority of this government is to increase growth in our economy," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

"We have one of the most flexible labour markets in the world but there is more we can do to give British business the confidence it needs to create more jobs and support the wider economy to grow.

“Businesses tell us that unfair dismissal rules are a major barrier to taking on more people. So today we have announced that only after working for the same employer for two years can an employee bring an unfair dismissal claim.”

A key part of the Government’s growth strategy is to create the conditions which allow businesses, particularly small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), to grow and expand by reducing regulation and maintaining a flexible and dynamic labour market.

Over the past 18 months, the Government has started a fundamental Employment Law Review to ensure that it is fit for purpose, that it properly balances the needs of employers and employees, and provides the competitive environment required for businesses to thrive.

For the next three weeks the Red Tape Challenge will focus on more than 160 different cross-Government employment related regulations that businesses have to deal with in all areas of the workplace.

The campaign asks for a variety of suggestions about how regulations can be improved, simplified or even abolished, whilst also ensuring that the current standard of employment rights for employees are maintained. Examples of regulations which Government is seeking views on include the rules on collective redundancies, employment agencies, immigration checks, the National Minimum Wage and statutory sick pay, to make sure they are fit for purpose and easier for businesses to understand.

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