The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Mr S Hussain v Acorn Independent College Limited has concluded in this case, where a teacher was on a temporary contract which terminated at the end of a school year and was subsequently offered a new contract at the beginning of the new term, the gap between the two contracts was a "temporary cessation" in work and did not break the teacher's continuity of employment.

Mr Hussain was offered temporary employment by the College on 25 April 2008. The purpose of the employment was to cover the duties of a teacher who was absent on grounds of ill-health. The temporary employment terminated on 8 July 2008. However, following the resignation of the ill teacher in July 2008, Mr Hussain was offered a permanent position in August 2008 to begin on 5 September 2008, covering the work of the former teacher. The question for the EAT was whether or not there had been a break in Mr Hussain's continuity of service between the first contract and the second.

The Employment Tribunal had previously ruled that there was a break in employment, meaning that Mr Hussain did not have one year's service to allow him to claim unfair dismissal. However, the EAT disagreed and ruled that statute does not require examination of the parties' expectation of further work. The correct approach is to look back at the reason for the termination of the first contract, and whether that meant the cessation was temporary. It also made reference to the principal's words to Mr Hussain when he was offered his new contract in August 2008 - "I trust you are enjoying the summer break." The EAT ruled that Mr Hussain had over a year's continuous service and was entitled to raise an application for unfair dismissal.

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