Ask the Expert: Maintaining continuity of employment

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It is quite likely that your continuity of employment will remain if you were reemployed immediately following the end of your notice period, although you should get a lawyer to look over your contract to make sure.

The basic statement of law in regard to continuity of employment in the UK is in the Employment Act 1996 and reads: 'Any week during the whole or part of which an employee's relations with his employer are governed by a contract of employment counts in computing the employee's period of employment.' You could therefore argue that continuity has been maintained over a series of contracts as long as the gap between them is less than a week.

Furthermore, there is a presumption of continuity unless the employer can demonstrate otherwise.

Continuity of employment is important for two main reasons. One is that you need to have a year's service before you acquire certain rights - like the right not to be unfairly dismissed. The second is in relation to certain benefits like maternity benefits or redundancy pay. As far as the benefits are concerned, however, there is nothing to stop an employer offering something better than the statutory minimum, regardless of length of service.

Next week's question: I work as a trader in the city and am due to receive my end of year discretionary bonus. However, my relationship with my manager who sets my bonus is not as good as my counterparts', who know him well on a personal level. How I can ensure that I receive a fair and equal bonus?

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