Most of our week is spent in a place of work, and so every individual deserves to be treated fairly to have a positive and enriching environment that cultivates career development and productivity.
What Rights Do Workers Have?
Providing all other qualifying conditions are met, all workers have rights to the following:
Wage Rights and Working Hours
Employers are not required to pay all employees the same pay, but they are required to pay equal wages to employees who execute similar job tasks with an equal skill set requirement. Workers have a set minimum wage that they are required to be given. A business should not pay below this threshold, to do so is illegal.
Rest breaks must be given depending on the length of a shift, holiday entitlement must be given and paid for along with limitations on night working hours and caped hours in a working week.
No Discrimination in The Workplace
Employers are not permitted to discriminate against employees regarding hiring, firing, wages or promotions based upon the following factors:
- Race, Ethnicity or National origin
- Immigrant Status
Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay
Your employment terms and conditions are protected when you’re on Statutory Maternity Leave. If you normally make contributions to your pension, you should continue based on the amount of maternity pay you receive. You build up all your entitlements to paid holiday during your Statutory Maternity Leave. This is even if your contract says you are entitled to more than the legal minimum. It is automatically unfair and automatic sex discrimination for your employer to make you redundant or dismiss you for a reason connected with:
- maternity leave
- birth or pregnancy
- paternity leave
- parental leave
- time off for dependents
Your employer can make you redundant while you are on maternity leave if they can fairly justify their choice.
Parental leave allows working parents the right to take unpaid time off work to look after a child or plan for their welfare. If you have a child aged under 18, you may have the right to parental leave. To qualify, you must be an employee and have at least one year’s continuous service where you work.
All employees have a right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with certain emergencies involving people they care for. This is time off for dependants. There is no qualifying period. You can take this leave for child or adult care responsibilities.
While you are on Statutory Adoption Leave your employment terms and conditions are protected. You keep your normal employment rights and benefits (excluding wages) throughout all your Statutory Adoption Leave. This might include any access to benefits you have as part of your employment contract, for example, a company car or mobile phone. However, if the benefit is provided for business use, your employer may be able to suspend it.
Protection Against Disclosure Information (often called ‘Whistleblowing’)
Employees have the right to be free from retaliation when they file a claim against their employer for a violation of one of their rights. This includes disclosing information that is in the best interest of the public. Being free from retaliation is also considered as “whistle blower” rights.
A Safe Working Environment
Every employee should expect that their workplace environment is safe and has no health and safety hazards. If a worker experiences unsafe hazards in the workplace, a complaint can be filed with the company, and you should speak with a solicitor in case a claim needs to be made. This is a way for an employee to bring such hazardous situations to the attention of the employer.
What If I am Self Employed?
You don’t have employment rights as such if you’re self-employed as you are your own boss and can therefore decide how much to charge for your work and how much holiday to give yourself.
You do have some legal protection. You must not be discriminated against, and you’re entitled to a safe and healthy working environment on your client’s premises.