The government is planning to double the qualifying period for those employees claiming "unfair dismissal" (currently one year). This means that employees will have to be employed for two years before they can make this type of claim.
The government will be adding a simple amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996, which will come into effect on 6 April 2012. The reasoning behind this is to kick-start the economy, as it believes that employers are discouraged from taking on employees because at the moment they accrue this employment right so quickly. The government thinks that by changing the rules, it will slash the overall number of tribunal cases down by about 2,000 a year, saving employers around £6m per year.
However, it has not confirmed whether these rules are going to apply to existing employees we strongly suspect that they will. The government is now committed to cutting "red-tape" for small businesses. So, unless we hear otherwise, assume that this change will affect your current employees.