FTC regulated: Yes

Remarks

FTCs are regulated by the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 [FTER].

Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation

Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation

Remarks

The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 [FTER], with effect from 1st October 2002 stipulate that a fixed-term employee shall become a permanent employee after four years of continuous employment under one or successive fixed-term contracts (reg. 8 (2) a)).
However, this statutory four-year limit does not apply if employment on a fixed-term contract can be justified on objective grounds, or if the period of four years has been lengthened under a collective or workplace agreement (reg. 8 (2) b) and 8 (5) FTER).

Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: 48months

Remarks

The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 [FTER], with effect from 1st October 2002 stipulate that a fixed-term employee shall become a permanent employee after four years of continuous employment under one or successive fixed-term contracts (reg. 8 (2) a)).
However, this statutory four-year limit does not apply if employment on a fixed-term contract can be justified on objective grounds, or if the period of four years has been lengthened under a collective or workplace agreement (reg. 8 (2) b) and 8 (5) FTER).

% of workforce under FTC: 5.1

Remarks

Source: Eurostat, for the year 2016.
The figure refers to the percentage of employee with a contract of limited duration (= temporary job) of total number of employee aged 15-74 years.
Eurostat data are based on the following definition:
"A job may be considered temporary if employer and employee agree that its end is determined by objective conditions such as a specific date, the completion of a task or the return of another employee who has been temporarily replaced (usually stated in a work contract of limited duration). Typical cases are: (a) persons with seasonal employment; (b) persons engaged by an agency or employment exchange and hired to a third party to perform a specific task (unless there is a written work contract of unlimited duration); (c) persons with specific training contracts."

Maximum probationary (trial) period (in months): 24 months

Remarks

The ERA does not regulate the probationary period as such. However, it provides for a "qualifying period of employment" which is comparable to the probationary period insofar as employees are excluded fiom the protection against unfair dismissal during that period of time (sec. 108) ERA.
New as of 6 April 2012:
Sec. 108 ERA has been amended by the Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012. As a result, the qualifying period of employment has been extended from 1 year to 2 years.

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes

Remarks

Sec. 92 ERA as amended by the Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012): Upon request, an employee is entitled to a written statement of the reasons for dismissal provided than he has been employed for at least two years [New as of 6 April 2012: previously 1 year].
However employees dismissed during pregnancy, maternity or adoption leave have the right to receive such statement without having to request it and regardless of the length of service.

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons

Remarks

There are six potentially fair reasons for dismissal under section 98 of the ERA:
- the employee's capability or qualifications for performing work of the kind he or she was employed to do;
- the employee's conduct;
- the employee's retirement;
- the employee's redundancy;
- the employee could not continue to work in the position which he or she held without contravention (either on his or her part or that of the employer) of a statutory duty or restriction;
- "some other substantial reason" justifying the dismissal of an employee holding the position that he or she held.

Prohibited grounds: pregnancy, maternity leave, filing a complaint against the employer, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, trade union membership and activities, disability, parental leave, whistle blowing, adoption leave, raising occupational health and security concerns, performing jury service, conviction or failure to disclose a conviction, ethnic origin

Remarks

A dismissal is also automatically unfair if the principal reason for it involves:
* leave for family reasons (includes pregnancy, maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave): sec. 99 ERA;
* employee representatives: sec. 103 ERA, trade union membership and activities and refusal to belong to a trade union: sec. 152 (1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (TULRCA);
* bringing proceedings against the employer to enforce a statutory right: sec. 104 ERA; (see also 104A to 104D ERA: enforcement of a right related to national minimum wage, flexible hours, tax credit and pension enrolment)
* race, ethnic or national origin: Sec 4 (2) b and 4 (4A) of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74) as subsequently amended;
* sex: sec. 6 (2) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65), as subsequently amended;
* disability: sec. 4 (2) b) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 8c. 50) as subsequently amended.
* age: sec. 7 (2) d) of the The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (No. 1031), as amended;
* religion and belief: sec. 6 (2) d) of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (No. 1660), as amended;
* sexual orientation: sec. 6 2) d) of the The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 (No. 1661), as amended;
* safety representatives raising health and safety concerns: sec. 100, ERA;
* jury service: sec. 98B ERA;
* New in 2010: a prohibited blacklist of trade union members in certain circumstances (sec. 104E ERA, as inserted by Regulation 12 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010.

In addition, a dismissal is also automatically unfair if the principal reason for it involves:
- unfair selection for redundancy (sec. 105 ERA), transfer of an undertaking (sec. 7(1), Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 2006), (i.e. unless the dismissal is justified by an economic, technical or organizational reason entailing a change in the workforce), conviction of an offence or failure to disclose such a conviction when the conviction is 'spent' within the meaning of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (sec. 4(3)(b));
- industrial pressure exercised on the employer (e.g. if employees threaten to start industrial action unless a certain employee is not dismissed) (sec. 107, ERA);
- shop workers and betting workers who refuse Sunday work (sec. 101, ERA); and
- trustees of occupational pension schemes (sec. 102, ERA).

Workers enjoying special protection:

Remarks

No additional protection for specific category of workers besides the prohibition of dismissals based on the above-mentioned reasons.

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: no specific form required

Remarks

No specific form required for dismissal notification.
The ERA only provides for the right to a written statement of the reasons for dismissal upon request (sec. 92).

Notice period:

Remarks

Sec. 86 ERA establishes minimum notice periods according to the length of service, as follows:
- one week, if the employee has been continuously employed for at least 1 month but less than two years;
- one week for each year of continuous employment if the period of continuous employment is between two and 12 years; and
- 12 weeks if the period of continuous employment is 12 years or more.
No notice needs to be given if the employee has been employed for less than 1 month.

tenure ≥ 6 months:

  • All: 0.25 months.

tenure ≥ 9 months:

  • All: 0.25 months.

tenure ≥ 2 years:

  • All: 0.5 months.

tenure ≥ 4 years:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 5 years:

  • All: 1.25 months.

tenure ≥ 10 years:

  • All: 2.5 months.

tenure ≥ 20 years:

  • All: 3 months.

Pay in lieu of notice: No

Remarks

There is no statutory right to pay in lieu of notice. However, a pay in lieu of notice clause can be inserted in the employment contract or it may be paid to cover any potential damages for breach of contract
See also sec. 88 (1) a) ERA that provides that "If an employee has normal working hours under the contract of employment in force during the period of notice and during any part of those normal working hours the employee is ready and willing to work but no work is provided for him by his employer (...) the employer is liable to pay the employee for the part of normal working hours a sum not less than the amount of remuneration for that part of normal working hours calculated at the average hourly rate of remuneration produced by dividing a week's pay by the number of normal working hours."

Notification to the public administration: No

Notification to workers' representatives: No

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned): Redundancies concerning at least 20 employees within 45 days.

Remarks

- Duties of consultation and notification arise where an employer is proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees within a period of 45 days or less (Sec. 188(1) and 193(1) TULRCA)
- Definition of redundancy: sec. 195 TULRCA: "references to dismissal as redundant are references to dismissal for a reason not related to the individual concerned or for a number of reasons all of which are not so related".

Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

Remarks

Sec. 188 TULRCA. The consultation shall start at least 30 days before the dismissals takes effect, where the employer is proposing to dismiss 20-99 employees and, at least 45 days before the first dismissal, where the employer intends to dismiss at least 100 employees.

Notification to the public administration: Yes

Remarks

Sec. 193 TULRCA: Compulsory written notification to the Secretary of State at least:
- 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect where the employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20-99 employees and,
- 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect where the employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 100 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days o dismiss as redundant.
In practice the employer shall notify the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

Remarks

Sec. 188 TULRCA.

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

Remarks

No statutory rules on selection criteria.
Sec. 188 (4) d) TULRCA only refers to "method of selecting the employees" as one the elements to be disclosed to the appropriate representatives for the purposes of the consultation.

Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

Remarks

See sec. 188 (2) TULRCA: " The consultation shall include consultation about ways of:
(a) avoiding the dismissals,
(b) reducing the numbers of employees to be dismissed, and
(c) mitigating the consequences of the dismissals, and shall be undertaken by the employer with a view to reaching agreement with the appropriate representatives".

Priority rules for re-employment: No

Notes / Remarks

Notes

1) No statutory severance pay in the event of non-economic dismissals

2) The Employment Right Act 1996 only provides for a statutory termination payment in the event of redundancies. (Sec. 135, 155 and 162 ERA)
Employees are entitled to redundancy payment provided that they have been continuously employed for at least two years with the same employer.
The number of week pay due depends on the age of employee, the length of service, and is to be calculated, as follows:
- 0.5 week's pay for each year of service where the employee was below the age of 22;
- 1 week's pay for each year of service where the employee was between 22 to 40 of age;
- 1.5 week's pay for each year of employment where the employee was 41 and over.

Examples taken from the website of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, UK Government:

Example 1 - An employee aged 25 with 7 years service will be entitled to 5 weeks' redundancy pay. The 5 weeks entitlement is based on 0.5 weeks' pay for each completed year of service between age 18 and 22 and 1 week's pay for each completed year of service between age 22 and 25. (The middle band of 1 weeks' pay only applies where an employee, who is entitled to a redundancy payment, has completed a year service at age 22 or above).

Example 2 - An employee who is 38 years old and has 12 years of service will be entitled to 12 weeks' redundancy pay. The 12 weeks is based on 1 week's pay for each completed year of service between age 26 and 38.

Example 3 - An employee who is 49 years old and has 15 years of service will be entitled to 19 weeks redundancy pay. The 19 weeks' entitlement is based on 1 week's pay for each completed year of service between age 34 and 41 and 1.5 weeks' pay for each completed year of service between age 41 and 49.

(A link to the statutory redundancy pay table established by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, UK Government is provided below under "source of additional information")

Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

Remarks

Section 123.1 Employment Rights Act states that: Subject to the provisions of this section and sections 124 [F1, 124A and 126] , the amount of the compensatory award shall be such amount as the tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to the loss sustained by the complainant in consequence of the dismissal in so far as that loss is attributable to action taken by the employer.

New in 2013: As per the Enterprises and Regulatory Reform Act, 2013 (art. 15), the Secretary of State may propose the amendments to the art. 124 of the Employment Rights Act, so as to decrease or increase the amount of the compensation for unfair dismissal.

Reinstatement available: Yes

Remarks

Sec. 112, 111, 114, 115 ERA: If the Employment Tribunal is satisfied that the dismissal is unfair, it shall first consider to issue an order of reinstatement or re-engagement. However, if no such order is made (i.e because the employee does not wish to be reinstated or it is not practicable for the employer), the tribunal shall make an award of compensation for unfair dismissal.
In practice, reinstatement or re-engagement is rarely ordered. According to the latest statistics of the Employment Tribunal (April 2011 - March 2012), in only 0.1 % of all cases of unfair dismissals upheld (excluding dismissed cases) were reinstatement or re-engagement orders issued.

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

Remarks

Sec. 18 (A) Employment Tribunal Act: “Before a person (“the prospective claimantu201d) presents an application to institute relevant proceedings relating to any matter, the prospective claimant must provide to Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) prescribed information, in the prescribed manner, about that matter. (2)On receiving the prescribed information in the prescribed manner, ACAS shall send a copy of it to a conciliation officer.
(3)The conciliation officer shall, during the prescribed period, endeavour to promote a settlement between the persons who would be parties to the proceedings.
(4)Ifu2014
(a)during the prescribed period the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or
(b)the prescribed period expires without a settlement having been reached,
the conciliation officer shall issue a certificate to that effect, in the prescribed manner, to the prospective claimant.
(5)The conciliation officer may continue to endeavour to promote a settlement after the expiry of the prescribed periodu2026.
(7) A person may institute relevant proceedings without complying with the requirement in subsection (1) in prescribed cases.
The cases that may be prescribed include (in particular)u2014
• cases where the requirement is complied with by another person instituting relevant proceedings relating to the same matter;
• cases where proceedings that are not relevant proceedings are instituted by means of the same form as proceedings that are;
• cases where section 18B applies because ACAS has been contacted by a person against whom relevant proceedings are being instituted.u201d

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): labour court

Remarks

Sec. 111 ERA: The Employment Tribunal Act has jurisdiction over complaints of unfair dismissal.
New as of 6 April 2012 The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012 added unfair dismissal to the kinds of claim which can be heard solely by an employment judge in the employment tribunal, rather than by three panel members as was previously required.

Alternatively employees may also sue employers for breach of contract/wrongful dismissal in civil courts. However civil courts do not have jurisdiction over claims of unfair dismissal as defined by the ERA.

Existing arbitration: Yes

Remarks

Voluntary arbitration scheme for unfair dismissal claims through ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).