Law guide: Workplace

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Employees' rights

Employees' rights

Contents

Employers and employees have mutual obligations towards each other, obligations that are set out in the terms of their employment contracts. It is important to know what these rights and obligations are to avoid a breach of contract.

Use this section to find out what your legal rights are as an employee, what your employer can and cannot do, and what to do to protect these rights. Below you will find a summary of the topics covered in this section.

Employment contracts and conditions

All employees have a contract of employment, although it might not be in writing. You should familiarise yourself with the terms of your employment, as you could be found in breach of contract if you break any of the terms. Additionally, your employer might break the terms of your employment (for example, if they do not pay your wages), in which case, you will need to know what to do to find a solution. Use this section to find out information on what employment contracts are and what rights they give you as well as how your employment contract might change if you are a worker and not an employee, if you engage in agency work, fixed or part-time work, voluntary work, or if you work from home.

The 'employee shareholder' is a form of employment contract for employees working for a limited company. This type of contract requires the employee to give up some of their employment rights in return for shares in the company. See 'Employee shareholders' for more information.

Working hours and time off

As a worker you have a right to a certain amount of time off during your work shift and in between working days (with some exceptions depending on what type of work you do). Find out what your rights are and what exceptions and restrictions there are on when and where you can work.

You will also find information in this section regarding flexible working hours. Knowing this information will inform you how to use the law to help balance your home and work life. The right to ask for flexible working aims to help employers and workers agree on work patterns that suit everyone.

Lastly, you will find information on other situations involving working hours where problems and issues can occur. For example, there are certain rights and regulations involved in working at night, in working overtime, getting time off for public duties such as jury service, as well as issues like working on Sunday and getting holiday entitlements.

Pay

Almost all UK workers have a legal right to a minimum level of pay, called the National Minimum Wage. The level is set by the government each year based on the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC). In addition, workers have other rights relating to pay, the first being the right to getting a payslip for each pay period, and the right to not having any unfair deductions from your pay. They also have the right to receive notice pay if they are laid off, right to bonuses and incentives promised to you, as well as the right to sick pay. Use this section to find information on all of these topics.

Discrimination

Discrimination means treating some people differently from others. It isn't always unlawful - after all, people are paid different wages depending on their status and skills. However, there are certain reasons for which your employer can't discriminate against you by law.

Find out what counts as unlawful discrimination and what you should do if you think you have fallen victim to unlawful discrimination. The topics covered include racial discrimination, age discrimination, sex discrimination, religion and belief discrimination, and disability discrimination.