Continuous employment is when an employee has worked for one employer without a break.

The length of continuous employment gives certain rights to employees, including:

  • maternity pay
  • flexible working requests
  • redundancy pay

Continuous employment is calculated from the first day of work.

What’s included

Some breaks in normal employment still count towards a continuous employment period. These are:

  • sickness, maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave
  • annual leave
  • employment overseas with the same company
  • time between unfair dismissal and an employee being reinstated
  • when an employee moves between associated employers
  • military service, eg with a reserve force
  • temporary lay-offs
  • employer lockouts
  • when a business is transferred from one employer to another
  • when a corporate body gets taken over by another because of a legal change

Strikes

Days when employees are on strike don’t count towards continuous employment, but this isn’t treated as a break.

Example

An employee works for 20 days, but for 5 of these days the employee is on strike - this only counts as 15 days’ continuous employment.

Helpline

Contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) if you have any questions about continuous employment.

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