Welton v Deluxe Retail (t/a Madhouse) is a case concerning continuity of employment for the purposes of calculating qualifying service for statutory employment rights. Under these provisions, any week when the employee’s relations with his or her employer are “governed by a contract of employment” will count towards continuous employment.
The case came about after Mr Welton was dismissed by Deluxe on 23 February 2010 – a Tuesday – when they closed their Sheffield shop down. The working week ran from Sunday to Saturday and therefore ended on Saturday 27 February 2010. At some point in the next working week, he was offered, and accepted, a job at another of Deluxe’s shops, in Blackpool. He started work on 8 March, i.e. more than a week after the previous working week ended.
Mr Welton resigned from his employment by letter dated 11 December 2010. Consequently, if employment at both stores was treated as continuous then he had sufficient service in order bring his claim. However, if the employment at the Blackpool store did not count as continuing from his employment at the Sheffield store then he did not. It was found at a preliminary hearing that he was not offered employment before the Sheffield store closed and the earliest date on which an offer to employ him in Blackpool was made was on 1 March.
The question was – did his contract begin when he actually started work, in which case there was a one-week break in continuity, or did it start at the earlier date when he accepted the offer? Mr Welton (representing himself in The Employment Appeal Tribunal) put up three arguments:
- 1. that he should be seen as being subject to a contract of employment during the first working week after the termination of his employment at Sheffield;
- 2. that, if not, his absence was due to a "temporary cessation of work" and, therefore, not a termination of employment; or
- 3. if not, there was an arrangement, albeit after the event, that his absence should not break contunuity of employment. Continue reading