Time limits


Time limits for making employment law claims

Important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim

The usual time limit for issuing a tribunal claim is 3 months less one day from the termination of your employment (usually this the last day you were paid), or other event giving rise to your claim (for example, the last act of discrimination).

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their mandatory early conciliation scheme within the above time period (3 months less one day from the termination of your employment or other event giving rise to your claim).

This will ‘stop the clock’ on the usual Tribunal time limit until the day that you receive a certificate from ACAS confirming that Conciliation has been completed. The clock starts running again once the Early Conciliation Certificate has been received, but the time you then have to issue a claim will then be limited.  Specific advice will need to be taken on the specific time limit that applies to you once the Early Conciliation Certificate has been received, otherwise you could be time barred to bring a claim.

If a notification has not been sent to ACAS within the aforesaid time period of 3 months less one day from the date of termination of employment, the clock will not be stopped and you will remain out of time to bring your claim.

Breach of contract claim

In the employment tribunal, an employee has 3 months from the effective date of termination or the last day on which the employee worked to bring a claim for breach of contract. In the civil courts the time limit will be 6 years from the cause of action accruing. There is no qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their mandatory early conciliation scheme within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

Written statement of particulars of employment

An employee has a right to receive a written statement of employment particulars within 2 months of commencing employment. The time limit for bringing the claim to the employment tribunal is 3 months from the date on which employment ceased. You need to have worked for at least one month before bringing a claim.

Unfair Dismissal

For the majority of unfair dismissal claims, you are required to submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal within 3 months (less one day) from the date your employment ended. You need 23 months and 3 weeks of continuous employment as a qualifying period (without already having been served notice) before you can claim unfair dismissal, unless one of the few exceptions applies.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their early conciliation scheme within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee feels they have no choice but to resign, following a fundamental breach by their employer. The process for bringing a claim of constructive dismissal is to bring a claim within a period of 3 months (less one day) from the date when you resigned.

As for unfair dismissal, you need 23 months and 3 weeks continuous employment as a qualifying period before you can claim this, unless one of the exceptions applies.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their mandatory pre-claim conciliation scheme (the link  within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

Discrimination

Under the Equality Act, you have the right not to be discriminated against for reasons relating to age, gender reassignment, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. This includes treatment that is less favourable, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

For discrimination claims, you are required to submit your claim within 3 months (less one day) of the date of the last act complained of. In some cases discrimination will be an ongoing act and in these circumstances, the time for bringing proceedings will continue to run.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their early conciliation scheme within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

There is no 2 year qualifying period for discrimination claims.

Whistleblowing

If an employee is subjected to detriment or a dismissal as a result of making a protected disclosure, they will have a time limit of 3 months from the date of the act complained of to bring a claim in the employment tribunal.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their early conciliation scheme within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

Health & Safety

If you are dismissed as a result of complaining about or refusing to work in an unsafe environment, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

ACAS Early Conciliation

Notwithstanding the time limit of 3 months less one day to issue a tribunal claim,  ACAS must now be notified that you plan on issuing a claim to the employment tribunal. ACAS Early Conciliation lasts for a period of up to one month (but can be extended by up to 14 if there is a reasonable prospect of settling). Once ACAS have been notified, the time limit for bringing a claim will be frozen.

For more information about the ACAS Early Conciliation Service, please click here.

Families and Pregnancy

Right to unpaid parental leave

An employee has 3 months from the date when an employer refused a request for time off to bring a claim at the employment tribunal. There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Right not to suffer detriment in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, maternity/paternity/adoption leave and parental leave

In the employment tribunal, the time limit is 3 months starting from the date of the last act or failure to act. There is no qualifying period for bringing a claim.

Right to paid time off for antenatal care

An employee has 3 months starting from the date of the appointment. There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Right to unpaid time off to care for dependents

An employee has 3 months from the date when an employer refused a request for time off to bring a claim at the employment tribunal. There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Redundancy claims

Where an employer has failed to consult with the appropriate representatives over proposed collective redundancies, the time limit will be 3 months from the date on which the dismissal takes place or prior to that dismissal.

Redundancy Pay

If an employer fails to pay either statutory or contractual redundancy pay or if the employee disagrees with the amount, the employee has 6 months to bring a claim for payment to an employment tribunal.

You need 2 years of continuous employment as a qualifying period before you can claim this.

TUPE

Where there has been a failure to inform and consult with the appropriate representatives, and employee has 3 months starting with the date of the completion of the transfer.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Unlawful Deductions

Where there has been an unlawful deduction from your wages (including holiday pay, bonus, commission or pay due under statute), the employee has a time limit of 3 months from the date of the last deduction.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Equal Pay

The Equality Act gives an employee the right to equal pay for equal work. The time limit for bringing a claim under this right is 6 months after the termination of employment.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Statutory Sick Pay

After being on sick leave for four consecutive days, an employee has the right to receive SSP for up to 28 weeks. If an employee wishes to bring a claim under this right, they have 3 months from the date of the lack of payment.

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Trade Unions

Right not to suffer a detriment as a result of Trade Union activities or membership

The employee has a time limit of 3 months to bring a claim, starting from the date of the last act or failure to act. There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Refusal of employment or dismissal on grounds related to union membership

The employee has a time limit of 3 months to bring a claim, starting from the date of the conduct complained of. There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing this claim.

Working Time Regulations

Under the WTR, an employee has the right to daily and weekly rest breaks, rest breaks during the day, paid annual leave and pay in lieu of holiday upon termination of employment.

If an employee wants to bring a claim under these regulations, they have a time limit of 3 months from the date when the right should have been permitted (or permitted to begin where extended over more than one day).

There is no necessary qualifying period for bringing such a claim.

Part time working

If an employee has been treated less favourably as a result of their part time or fixed term status, there is a time limit of 3 months from the date of the less favourable treatment (or where the act is part of a series, the last of them) to bring a claim in the employment tribunal.

There is no necessary qualifying period.

Before being able to issue a tribunal claim, however, it is a pre-requisite that the claim is registered with ACAS under their early conciliation scheme within the above time period (see “important time limits for issuing a tribunal claim” above).

Breach of the employer’s duties in respect of a request for flexible working

If an employee is treated less favourably as a result of their request for flexible working, there is a time limit of 3 months starting with the date of the last act or failure to act.

An employee will need 26 weeks’ service before applying for flexible working.