Guide

Continuous employment and employee rights

Continuous employment for statutory payments

Employees need to meet certain qualification criteria to receive certain statutory payments, namely:

  • statutory redundancy pay (SRP)
  • statutory maternity pay (SMP)
  • statutory paternity pay (SPP)
  • statutory adoption pay (SAP)
  • statutory shared parental pay (ShPP)

Continuous service for SRP

Redundant employees have a number of rights, the main one being the right to receive SRP. In order to qualify for SRP, they must have at least two years' continuous service.

Employment may be treated as continuous for redundancy pay purposes if, for example, an individual is employed by a specified local government employer and moves to another specified employer within Northern Ireland. Similar legislative provisions operate in Great Britain, but there is currently no reciprocal arrangement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Continuous service is counted backwards from the 'relevant date' - usually the date the notice you give to your employee expires. If you give less than the legal minimum notice, the extra notice you should have given is added on.

A SRP is based on an employee's amount of continuous service - up to a maximum of 20 years. Certain absences - eg sickness or lay-offs - can count towards continuous service even if the contract of employment was suspended. See continuous employment and breaks in work.

When working out continuous service for SRP, you should deduct any strike days from the total length of service. Note that going on strike does not actually break continuity of employment.

If an employee is made redundant and is due to start another job (under a new employment contract) with the same employer then continuity of employment will be preserved so long as they start their new job within four weeks of the effective date of termination of their previous employment contract. Note that the offer to start the new job with the same employer must be made prior to the dismissal taking effect.

Continuous service for SMP, SPP, SAP and ShPP

For more on the continuous service requirements for these payments, see our guidance on: