The rights you have at work come from two sources:
1. Statutory rights – these are the rights that you have by law. These rights cannot be excluded by a contract.
2. Contractual rights – these are the rights that you have as a result of the contract you have signed. You can understand your contractual rights by reading the contract.
Most employees are entitled to statutory rights. If you are an agency/freelance worker, a casual worker, a trainee or self-employed then you are not usually considered to be an employee. If you fall within certain categories, such as a member of the police force or armed forces, then your statutory rights are slightly different. For everyone else, the law implies certain rights into your working relationship with your employer, including:
Pay – you are entitled to earn at least the National Minimum Wage (currently £6.70 for over 21s) from the day you start work, and to not have illegal deductions made from your earnings.
Leave and conditions – you are entitled to paid leave in a number of circumstances, including maternity, paternity or adoption, time off to look for work if you’re being made redundant, and paid holidays and sick pay. You also have the right to ask for flexible working.
Documents – as an employee you should be given a written statement of terms of employment (a contract) within two months of starting work. You’re also entitled to an itemised pay slip.
Dismissal – if your employer wants to remove you from the business you’re entitled to be given notice of dismissal (as long as you’ve worked for the employer for a calendar month). Once you have served a particular length of time in an organisation (one year if you started before 6 April 2012 or two years if you started on or after that date) you’re entitled to be given written reasons for dismissal.
Protections – you are protected against discrimination in the workplace on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as race or gender, and after a certain period of service (one year if you started before 6 April 2012 or two years if you started on or after that date) you can claim compensation if you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed. You have the right to redundancy pay, as well as the right not to be dismissed or suffer detriment for blowing the whistle, and the right to work until 65.
Health & Safety – laws allow the right to work a maximum 48-hour working week and you’re entitled to weekly and daily rest breaks.
Contractual rights are normally set out in your employment contract and will supplement the statutory rights that you already have when you become an employee. For example, you are entitled to statutory sick pay by law but your employment contract may supplement this with occupational sick pay. Other areas where you may have enhanced rights as a result of your contract include:
- Notice periods
- Maternity, paternity or adoption leave
- Holiday entitlement and pay
- Hours of work
Find out more about your basic rights at work by calling 0191 206 4103 to discuss with one of the Goodharts team today.