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Preserving Continuity Between Associated Employers

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[Thanks to Ed McFarlane of Deminos HR for preparing this case summary]

Is continuity of employment preserved when an employee is absent from work at one employer due to a temporary cessation of work, and then starts different work for an associated employer? 

Yes, says the EAT in Holt v EB Security Ltd.

Fourteen days after the first employer dismissed the Claimant, he was taken on by an associated employer in a completely different job, then dismissed within a year. He argued that his continuity of employment was preserved, meaning that he could claim unfair dismissal. The employment tribunal disagreed.

The EAT held that continuity was preserved under S212(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act, following Bentley Engineering v Crown. Looking back from the vantage point of his new job, there was a temporary cessation of work, and the Claimant was absent from work due to that cessation. There is no need for the associated employer to resume the operations of the first employer; any work with an associated employer would suffice to preserve continuity.

The EAT directly addressed the criticisms of Harvey as to the rightness of Crown, in which continuity was preserved during a cessation of work for the Claimants of up to two years.