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Continuous Employment

Key Points

  • To qualify for many statutory employment rights such as unfair dismissal, the right to receive a statutory redundancy payment, the right to maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay, employees must have been continuously employed for a certain period of time, the length of which may vary depending on the particular statutory right being relied upon.
  • The statutory provisions governing periods of continuous employment are set out at sections 210-219 Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996).
  • As the concept of continuous employment is governed by the provisions set out in the relevant legislation, the period of continuous employment will not necessarily be the same as that set out in the contract of employment. Additionally, the parties may not contract out of or seek to alter the period of continuous employment determined under the statutory provisions, which can in some cases preserve continuity of employment even when the contract of employment has ceased to exist.
  • This note gives detailed guidance on the legislative provisions relating to continuity of employment together with relevant case law.

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