Employees and workers in the UK enjoy a number of employment rights by law. You are classed as an employee if you are a working under a contract of employment.
Although employment contracts are usually in writing – and you should ask for yours to be so if possible to avoid any confusion – it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
It is basically what you and your employers have agreed are the terms and conditions of your contract and can therefore be written, oral or implied from your actions and those of the person you are working for.
It will specify things like what wage you’re entitled to what your notice period will be, how much paid holiday and sick pay you will receive and what maternity, adoption and paternity pay and leave you are entitled to.
Employers are not allowed to pay their employees less than the national minimum wage. This is currently:
These include working time limits, including rest breaks, time off for emergencies, paid holiday (most workers who work a five-day week, must receive 28 days paid annual leave per year) and limits on night work. Employees do not have to work more than 48 hours a week unless they agree to in writing.
Subject to certain conditions, statutory sick pay (SSP) is paid to employees who are unable to work because of sickness. The standard weekly rate of SSP is £ £85.85 a week for up to 28 weeks. SSP starts to be paid after the employee has been off sick for four days in a row (including non-working days).
You are entitled to statutory maternity leave of up to 52 weeks if you have been in continuous employment with the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Paternity and adoption leave is also available if you fulfil certain conditions.
Employees are also entitled to maternity, paternity and adoption pay if they have worked for their employers for long enough and their earnings have reached the required level.
Employers can only make deductions from your pay if: your contract says they can; it is required or authorised by law (eg income tax, national insurance or student loan repayments); or you have agreed in writing to a deduction before the conduct takes place for which your employer proposes to make a deduction
Your employers cannot by law treat you less favourably because you are pregnant, part-time or if you make a disclosure in the public interest (also known as being a whistleblower).
You have the right not to be discriminated against unlawfully on the grounds of your gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
An unfair dismissal happens when you are sacked from your job and your employers don't have a valid reason for dismissing you and/or has acted unreasonably. If this happens you can take your case to an employment tribunal although in most cases you will need to have two year's service to make a claim for unfair dismissal.
You may be entitled to redundancy pay if you have worked for your employer for at least two years. The amount you get will be based on your weekly pay, age and continuous employment with your employer.
A person is generally classed as a “worker” if they:
Workers are entitled to many of the same employment rights as employees but are not usually entitled to:
Age discrimination (personal)
Disability discrimination (personal)
I am being bullied, I am a victim of discrimination (employees)
Overview of sex discrimination in employment
Overview of race discrimination
Overview of overtime
I am having a baby, I need flexible working hours, I am owed money
Overview of pay (pay rises, pay cuts, notice pay, etc.)
Choosing an employment lawyer
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