Employment Law in Northern Ireland

Employment Law in Northern Ireland: Your Rights and Obligations as an Employee

Most of our waking hours are spent at our workplace, making it essential for every individual to be treated fairly and to have an environment that fosters career development and productivity. McParland & Sons will delve into the fundamental rights that workers are entitled to, which play a crucial role in creating a positive and enriching work atmosphere.

Wage Rights and Working Hours

Under the umbrella of workers’ rights, wage rights and working hours are of utmost importance. While employers are not obligated to pay all employees the same wage, they are required to ensure equal pay for individuals performing similar job tasks with an equal skill set requirement. Additionally, workers have the right to receive at least a set minimum wage, which employers must adhere to; paying below this threshold is illegal. Moreover, employees are entitled to rest breaks depending on the length of their shift, paid holiday entitlement, limitations on night working hours, and capped hours in a working week.

No Discrimination in The Workplace 

Discrimination has no place in the workplace. All workers have the right to be free from discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, immigrant status, and more. This includes hiring, firing, wage setting, and promotions. Legal protections are in place to ensure equal opportunities and fair treatment for every individual.

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Pay

Expectant and new parents have specific rights that safeguard their employment terms and conditions. During Statutory Maternity Leave, employees continue to be protected, and they still accrue entitlements to paid holiday, even if their contract offers more than the legal minimum. Similarly, Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Adoption Leave also provide essential benefits and protection for parents. Additionally, time off for dependents allows employees to take reasonable unpaid leave to care for their children or other dependents.

Protection Against Disclosure Information (Whistleblowing) 

Workers have the right to disclose information in the best interest of the public without fear of retaliation from their employers. Whistleblower protection ensures that employees can report any violations of their rights or any unlawful practices within the company without facing adverse consequences.

A Safe Working Environment

The safety and well-being of employees should be a top priority for any employer. Workers have the right to expect a safe and hazard-free workplace. If an employee encounters unsafe conditions, they can file a complaint with the company or seek legal advice if necessary. This mechanism allows employees to bring potential hazards to their employer’s attention, fostering a safer work environment for everyone.

Self-Employed Workers 

Self-employed individuals, being their bosses, do not have traditional employment rights. They have more autonomy over their work arrangements, including setting their rates and deciding on holiday periods. However, they are still entitled to legal protection against discrimination and the right to a safe and healthy working environment on their client’s premises.

Workers’ rights are the foundation of a just and thriving work environment. Every employee deserves to be treated fairly, with equal opportunities and protection against discrimination and hazards. If you feel that you are experiencing workplace challenges get in touch with our team of specialists who can advise you on the next steps. 

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