Employment Rights and Entitlements
As an employee in the UK, you are legally entitled to a minimum amount of pay, holiday, rest breaks, statutory sick leave, and paid maternity leave. The parameters of these entitlements are outlined below.
If you feel that you have been unlawfully treated by an employer, potential employer or trade union, you can make a claim at an employment tribunal. This process is outlined on the Gov.uk website.
If this is something that you need to consider, we would advise you to seek the appropriate independent advice. Please see our webpage on Advice and Representation.
How much money you are eligible to receive depends on your age and whether you are working as an apprentice.
The minimum wage is the minimum amount of money that your employer is legally able to pay per hour for people aged between 16 and 24.
The minimum living wage is the minimum amount of money that your employer is legally able to pay per hour for people aged 25 and over.
The hourly rate for an apprentice is usually lower than the national living and minimum wage.
The minimum hourly rates of pay are reviewed annually and tend to increase every year. You can find out how much the current minimum and living wages are here.
You are entitled to be informed in writing how much you will be paid and when you will receive your wages. If this is not included in your written contract, you may want to ask your employer for clarification.
As an employee in the UK, you should be entitled to a minimum amount of paid annual leave. Most workers who work a full-time 5-day week should receive at least 28 days paid annual leave per year. This includes people on a zero-hours contract.
If you work part time, your annual leave entitlement may be pro-rated to reflect the hours that you work per year. You can calculate how much holiday you are entitled to here.
Your employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of your statutory leave but this is not a legal requirement.
Find out more about holiday entitlement here.
In the UK, workers over the age of 18 are entitled to three types of break:
- Rest breaks at work
If you work longer than six hours a day, you should be entitled to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during the working day.
- Daily Rest
Workers have the right to 11 hours of rest between working days.
- Weekly Rest
Workers have the right to an uninterrupted 24 hours each week, or an uninterrupted 48 hours each fortnight.
Legally, except in the case of domestic workers, an employer should give an employee enough breaks to ensure their health and safety is not at risk.
Health and Safety
It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that your workplace is a safe place to work.
You are entitled to see your employer’s health and safety policy and have access to a properly conducted risk-assessment of your workplace.
If your employer is not fulfilling their responsibility to ensure the working environment is safe, you have the ultimate right to refuse to work until the issue has been resolved. If you are concerned that the workplace is dangerous, you should make this known to your employer, you may want to do so in writing.
If your employer fails to resolve the problem, you may want to report it to Health and Safety Executive. But, be wary; it is possible that this course of action will take its toll on your relationship with your employer.
If you are an employee in the UK, you are entitled to take time of work if you are ill.
If you have been ill for more than seven consecutive days you must provide evidence that you are unwell in the form of a fit note from a GP or hospital. You may be able to use a fit note from a different Allied Health Professional but this needs to be agreed by your employer.
If you are absent from work owing to illness for less than seven days, you may be able to self-certify. Your employer should indicate how they want you to do this.
If you are unable to take statutory annual leave due to illness, you should be able to take sick leave instead. As such, if you have unused annual leave owing to illness, you may be able to carry this leave over to the next leave year. Find out more about this here.
Maternity Leave and Pay
When you take time off to have a baby, you may be eligible for Statutory Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay, paid time off for antenatal care and extra help from the government. Find out if you are eligible for these entitlements here.
Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks. You do not need to take the full 52 weeks but there is a minimum expectation of maternity leave following the birth of your baby. More information on Maternity leave can be found here.
You may be entitled to take some of your leave as Shared Parental Leave. Find out more here.
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