Continuity of employment starts when employee begins actual ‘work’ under the contract

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently determined that continuity of employment will be deemed to start from the date upon which the employee begins work under the contract, and not at the point at which the employee undertakes activities for an employer. However, the EAT also confirmed that this will be a question of fact and degree, having regard to the nature of the activities performed.

In this case, the employee, at the employer’s request, attended a meeting before her contractual start date. She argued that by attending this meeting, her start date for the purposes of calculating her continuous employment had been brought forward, thereby giving her sufficient service to claim unfair dismissal.

The EAT held that the employee’s attendance at the meeting did not bring her start date forward. In reaching this conclusion, the EAT had regard to the fact that:
• she had not been obliged to attend the meeting;
• she was not there in the capacity of an employee;
• she was not paid for her attendance; and
• she went to the meeting entirely of her own choice.
(Case name: Koenig v The Mind Gym, EAT UKEAT/0201/12/R)

Full case can be found here:
http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2013/0201_12_0803.html

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