Advice for parents about the career options for their children

Employment rights and what to do if these rights are breached

Employment rights are a fundamental part of employment and have been since the industrial revolution. Employment rights exist to protect employees from poor working practices, dangerous conditions and serve to give every employee some basic employment benefits. Employment rights have now been extended to ensure that employees do not suffer from discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

Employment rights exist in law passed by parliament, and are there to provide a basic standard of rights that should be enjoyed by employees. Your basic employment rights cannot be reduced in your employment contract, even if you agree to have them reduced.

Basic employment rights

Your basic employment rights include the right to a written statement of employment within two months of starting a job. You are also entitled to a pay slip detailing your pay and any deductions, and you have a right not to have unlawful deductions taken from your pay.

You have the right to earn the National Minimum Wage, and to receive statutory pay for sickness and maternity, paternity and adoption leave. You have the right to 28 days paid holiday (for a full year worked, or pro rata if less) and the right not to be forced to work more than 48 hours per week (unless you work as a trainee doctor, are in the Armed Forces or are in certain roles in the transport industries).

Under Health and Safety law you have the right to work in a safe environment free from hazards, and this extends to psychological hazards such as bullying.

Your employer is under a legal obligation to act and prevent workplace bullying and harassment, and where they fail they may be liable for a claim for breach of
contract or unfair dismissal.

You have the right to work free from discrimination. This applies not only to your
time as an employee but also in the recruitment process. If your employer discriminates on the basis of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, disability
status or pregnancy they act unfairly and you may automatically claim unfair dismissal and compensation.

Rights acquired after time

If you started your job before 6th April 2012 you will now qualify to claim unfair dismissal if your employer fails to follow a correct and fair process in dismissing you or making you redundant. If you started your job after this date, you will need to wait two years to acquire this right.

Certain other rights are time restricted, for example, you also only acquire the right to claim statutory redundancy pay once you have worked for your employer for one year.

If you believe that your employment rights are being breached, or are unsure
whether something that has happened at work is illegal then you should consult
an employment lawyer for expert legal advice. Sometimes all that is needed is good advice and a timely intervention to avoid a situation deteriorating and the need for legal action later on.

Information supplied by Contact Law,