Continuity of employment

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Continuity of employment
  • Calculation—general principles
  • Zero hours contracts
  • When the continuous period starts
  • When the continuous period ends
  • Breaks in continuity
  • Calculating the period
  • Change of employer
  • Transfer of business
  • Associated employers
  • More...

Continuity of employment

UPDATE: In its ‘Good Work Plan’ published in December 2018, the government has indicated that it will legislate to extend the gap before continuity of employment is broken from one week to four weeks. For further information, see our report of 17 December 2018.

This Practice Note examines the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) in relation to continuity of employment.

The length of time for which someone has been continuously employed is important because:

  1. there are some rights which a person only acquires after a particular period of continuous employment. For example, an employee must be continuously employed for:

    1. two years to bring a standard claim for unfair dismissal (if their period of continuous employment commenced on or after 6 April 2012)—see Practice Note: Qualifying period for unfair dismissal, and

    2. two years to be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment—see Practice Note: Entitlement to statutory redundancy payment

    3. one month to be entitled to statutory minimum notice—see Practice Note: Statutory minimum notice

  1. the compensation for breach of many of the statutory rights increases according to the length of time that the employee has been continuously employed

  1. many contracts give progressively greater benefits to employees the longer they work: for example, some employees become entitled to more sick pay once they have been working for a certain

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