Qualifying periods

Most people are entitled to the rights outlined below.  However, in many cases, qualifying conditions must be fulfilled before a right may be claimed.  Some rights apply to all employees as soon as they start work; others depend on factors such as length of service, continuity of employment and activities in addition to the job, for example, union work. 


For certain rights, various groups of people are excluded.  Most rights apply only to employees but some apply to wider groups of workers.  It is important to check the detailed information on the qualifying conditions outlined below.

Qualifying period — Day 1


  • protection from unfair dismissal for reasons including maternity, parental and paternity leave; undertaking activities aimed at improving health and safety; refusal to work on Sundays; assertion of rights under working time regulations; performance of duties as trustee of occupational pension scheme;
  • performance of function as employee representative; making a protected disclosure; assertion of statutory rights, including right to national minimum wage and right to certain credits; claim for union recognition; trade union reason; part-time worker status;
  • 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave followed by 26 weeks of additional maternity leave;
  • UK adoptions - 26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave followed by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave;
  • parental bereavement leave;
  • protection from discrimination on the grounds of sex; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation; civil partnership status; marital status; age; and disability.

Qualifying period — 1 month


  • at least one week’s notice of termination of contract;
  • guarantee payment in case of lack of work;
  • payment of salary during suspension on medical grounds;
  • right not to be dismissed on medical grounds.

Qualifying period — 2 months


  • a written statement of the particulars of employment (to be received no later than two months after starting employment).

Qualifying period — 26 weeks


  • two weeks’ paid paternity leave;
  • UK adoptions - statutory adoption pay;
  • overseas adoptions - leave and pay;
  • statutory maternity pay;
  • parental bereavement pay;
  • flexible working rights.

Qualifying period — 1 year


  • protection from unfair dismissal for reasons other than those specifically listed in the relevant legislation, including dismissal without following the correct statutory procedure.

Qualifying period — 2 years


  • at least one week’s notice for each year of continuous employment;
  • redundancy payment and time off to look for other work or to arrange training.
Last updated: 26 July 2023