continuity of service

We thought we’d look at the concept of continuity of service in more detail here, as it is important for employees and workers in terms of the employment rights that you are entitled to (e.g. being able to claim unfair dismissal and/or receive a redundancy payment).

Continuous employment usually means working for the same employer without a break and is worked out in months and years, starting with the date you began work for your employer. The general rule is that if there is a gap in employment of a week or more, continuity of service with your employer is broken in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996 (if the break is less than one week there is no break in continuity).

If there is a break in your employment then normally none of the weeks or months before that date will count as continuous service. There are exceptions to this rule, where short breaks can still be counted as continuous employment which we explain in our article.

Absence from work

Any of the following counts as continuous employment, provided your employment ‘contract’ (i.e. the obligation for you to provide work for pay) continues throughout:

  • Sickness
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Parental leave
  • Temporary lay-off
  • Holiday breaks
  • Other time off allowed by your contract of employment (e.g. agreed unpaid leave)
  • Any official Furlough leave taken under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) during the Coronovirus pandemic of 2020.