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
  • Whether work done before the formally agreed start date counts
  • When the continuous period ends
  • Unfair dismissal—effective date of termination (EDT)
  • Statutory redundancy payment—relevant date
  • Breaks in continuity
  • Calculating the period
  • More...

Continuity of employment

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—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

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

  3. the contract of employment may give enhanced benefits to employees based on their length of service, eg the rate at which employees receive sick pay, or the period for which they receive it, may increase the longer they have been working for the employer

In relation to contractual rights, the contract of employment may set out that a different method of calculating continuity of employment will be used, and not the statutory method, eg it may not include a probation period, or it may include, a period of employment which would not be

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