The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for change as research conducted finds a quarter of UK workers are not qualified for unfair dismissal protection. 

New research carried out by the TUC finds that one quarter of employees in the UK – or 7.5 million workers – began this year with no protection from unfair dismissal.

This is due to the fact it takes being employed for two years to qualify for the right of unfair dismissal protection.

This number is significantly higher within particular sectors including hospitality and retail, leaving employees within these sectors particularly vulnerable. Almost half (45 per cent) of workers within the hospitality sector are not protected against unfair dismissal due to not being in their job for a long enough period of time.

The same is true for a third (32 per cent) of those working within retail, wholesale and the vehicle repair sector.

In addition to this, certain groups of workers are also at a higher risk of not being granted unfair dismissal protection – most notably, people from BME (Black, Minority Ethnic) backgrounds and young workers.

TUC research found that over half of workers aged between 20 and 24 (56 per cent) did not qualify for this protection. Two in five employees (40 per cent) aged between 25 and 29 also failed to be eligible.

Similarly, one in three BME workers (33 per cent) have no protection against unfair dismissal in comparison to just a quarter of white workers (25 per cent).

TUC brought attention to the Government’s pledge to bring forward a new employment bill which would improve people’s protections at work, claiming that this legislation has not yet come about.

Due to this, the union body are calling for workers to have the protection against unfair dismissal from day one in a job. It states that even implementing a twelve month qualifying period for unfair dismissal would benefit 3.6 million workers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, said:

The government must do everything possible to stop mass unemployment. This includes strengthening protections at work so people can’t be sacked unfairly. No-one should be treated like disposable labour.

If the government is serious about levelling up Britain it must level up workers’ rights – not water down hard-won rights from the EU. People shouldn’t have to wait for two years to be protected from unfair dismissal. They should be day one rights for everybody.

Along with this, the TUC is also calling for zero-hours contracts to be banned, to allow workers to work flexibly in a job from the first day on a job and establishing a national recovery council.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.