Employment Law: Time Limits and Length of Service

The Supreme Court’s recent decision that the system of charging fees for bringing claims in the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) is unlawful has led many commentators to suggest that there may now be a significant increase in the number of claims being brought by employees.

In light of this, many employees will now be brushing up on the length of service requirements and time limits for brining claims in the ET. The date on which a time limit starts to run is typically from the date on which the employee’s employment ended or the date on which the act complained of occurred.

ACAS Early Conciliation

For most ET claims employees must notify ACAS of their intention issue a claim. The idea behind this is to encourage the parties to resolve the issue before proceedings are commenced. In most cases, this essentially freezes the clock for bringing a claim and once this process has ended (usually after one month) the clock will start again.

Time limits in ET claims are generally very strict. We have set out the time limits in the most common claims in the table below:

TYPE OF CLAIM LENGTH OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE REQUIRED TIME LIMIT
Wrongful dismissal 1 month 3 months from termination
Unfair dismissal (including redundancy) and constructive dismissal 2 years 3 months from termination
Discrimination No qualifying period 3 months from the date of the last act complained of
Dismissal for whistleblowing No qualifying period 3 months from the date of the act complained of
TUPE (failure to inform and consult) No qualifying period 3 months from the date of completion of the transfer
Equal pay No qualifying period 6 months from the end of employment
Unlawful deductions No qualifying period 3 months from non-payment

In some cases, the ET may extend the time limit for presenting a claim. Depending on the type of claim, an extension may be granted where it would be just and equitable to do so or where it was not reasonably practicable to bring the claim sooner. You should seek legal advice if you think your potential claim could be out of time.

If you would like to discuss any issues raised in this blog, please feel free to get in touch with our Employment Law experts by telephone on 0161 926 9969 or by email on employment@mlplaw.co.uk. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @HRGuruUK for the latest Employment Law updates. Or contact us to sign up to our monthly newsletter.