Calculating a period of continuous employment is assessed based on how many unbroken weeks are continuous and is therefore evaluated on a week by week basis, running from Sunday to Saturday accordingly. If each consecutive week after the first week satisfies the requirements for continuity then there is continuous employment. If not, the week in question will break continuity and a new period of continuous employment will start at the beginning of the first week that again does satisfy the requirements.

Continuous employment normally starts on the first day of employment as stated in the employee’s Contract of Employment. In certain circumstances, the start date may be moved back in time to increase the period of continuous employment if the change of contract does not break continuity. In these cases, the start date will be calculated as being at the beginning of the original employment. It also applies where there may be a change in the company’s name or legal entity, or in any of the other examples in the paragraph dealing with “change of employer”.

The date of the end of the continuous employment is always important to determine whether the employee has acquired the sufficient length of continuous employment (i.e qualifying period) necessary to activate one of a range of statutory rights or to calculate a statutory payment. If an employee has been dismissed, then the relevant and effective date of termination is the date on which:

a) the notice expires or 
b) where the contract ends without notice, the date that should have been given for the expiry of the period of statutory or contractual notice to which the employee is entitled. This can result therefore in a gap between when the employee stopped working and when the effective date of termination exists.

The fact that an employee may have stopped working prior to the effective date of termination is therefore not the only consideration when calculating the period of continuous employment.

Contractual Information Guide

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