Having Issues? - Employment Rights

As an employee, you have a whole range of employment rights. These rights are found in employment legislation and in your contract of employment.

The rights contained in employment legislation are called your ‘statutory employment rights’ and are your minimum entitlements. Your contract of employment can give you greater rights than the minimums protected under the law. If it attempts to give you less, the relevant part of the contract will be void and will not apply.

Statutory Employment rights

There are a number of statutory employment rights. Following a few examples of the main statutory rights to be aware of:

Right to maternity/paternity/adoption leave

Under employment law, women have the right to a minimum of 52 weeks’ maternity leave. New fathers have the right to two weeks’ ordinary paternity leave and may be entitled to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave. Adoptive parents may have up to 52 weeks’ statutory adoption leave if they qualify.

Right to pay

Nearly all workers are entitled to the national minimum wage. However, a few categories of worker will not be entitled to the national minimum wage, such as workers under the age of 16 and genuinely self-employed people. Employers are not allowed to make unlawful deductions from employees’ pay.

Right to join a trade union

Anyone can join a trade union if they wish. An employer cannot discriminate against an employee for joining a trade union or for joining a trade union which they do not officially recognise. In addition, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee who chooses not to join a trade union.

Right to notice

An employer is obligated to give an employee the statutory minimum amount of notice when they dismiss them. Under employment law, redundancy and retirement count as dismissals and therefore an employer is obligated to give an employee the correct notice of these as well.

Other statutory rights

Other rights you should be aware of include:

  • The right to holiday pay
  • The right to sick pay
  • The right to ask for flexible working
  • The right to parental leave
  • The right to time off for ante natal care
  • The right to work until you are 65 years old
  • The right to rest breaks
  • The right to work a maximum 48-hour week
  • The right to time off to look for work if you are being made redundant
  • The right to a written statement of employment particulars and an itemised payslip
  • The right to not be discriminated against in the workplace

Does everyone have the same employment rights?

The answer to this is no. Statutory employment rights will vary depending on your employment status. The different employment statuses include:

  • Employee
  • Worker
  • Self-employed
  • Agency worker
  • Fixed-term employees
  • Contractor
  • Young workers
  • Migrant workers
  • Agricultural workers

It is important to know what category you fall into as your employment rights will vary within the different categories. You should be aware that your employment status can be different to what your employer says it is.

An Employment Tribunal will consider a number of factors to determine you employment status. These include whether you are free to work for other employers at the same time, if you are paid a regular salary, if you work at their premises and use their facilities, and if they have a significant degree of control over your work.

In addition, your employment rights can vary depending on the length of your employment, your age and your weekly wage.

Job Justice can help

If you need help calculating your employment rights, or you think your employer has got them wrong, you may want to get some legal advice about your situation.

Remember, if you are dismissed for enforcing your employment rights, or for trying to enforce them, you may have an unfair dismissal claim against your employer.

If you are worried that your employment rights are being infringed by your employer, or you have been dismissed for raising an issue relating to your employment rights with your employer, we can help you to get the legal advice you need.

We can put you in touch with one of our local employment solicitors. Simply call us for free on 0800 533 5799 or fill in an online contact form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your situation.


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