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Continuity of service

Continuity of service is calculated from the date that the employee starts work with the organisation.

Key points

  • The date of continuity of service must be included in the employee's statement of employment particulars.
  • Many statutory rights are dependent on accruing a certain period of continuous service.
  • If the employer is unable to offer work to the employee because none is available, continuity of service may be preserved during the period of inactivity.
  • Continuity of service is preserved during maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and parental leave.
  • If there is a transfer of undertaking (Tupe), then the continuity of service of the transferred employees is preserved.
  • It is essential that employers are clear what happens to continuity of service during career breaks and sabbaticals.
  • In the case of casual workers, who are employed only when required, there is likely to be no continuity of employment between periods of employment.
  • Any days on which the employee is involved in strike action neither count toward nor break a period of continuous service.
  • During any lock out, continuity of service is not broken but it does not count towards the calculation of continuous service.

Recent developments

New law to increase period required to break continuity of service

An independent review into modern ways of working, and the way current employment rights apply to flexible workers, was carried out by Matthew Taylor and resulted in the Good Work Review which was published in July 2017.

Following consultations on this matter, the government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ released in December 2018 has confirmed that legislation will be introduced to increase the period required to break continuity of service. The period will increase from one week to four weeks, entitling continuous service to those who face short breaks between periods of work.

It has not yet been confirmed when this legislation will come into force.