Statutory employment rights in the UK

10 January 2020

All employees and workers have rights in the UK. Parliament provides these and we call them “statutory rights”.

Employment law is one of the most difficult parts of running a business. You can call us for immediate assistance on 0800 028 2420 n any issue you need help with.  

But you can also read through our overview guide about the rights your staff have. This’ll help you to understand the basics when it comes to running your business.

What is the Employment Rights Act 1996?

It’s legislation that makes up the framework for modern labour laws in the UK. It advanced and updated various Acts from the 1960s, such as the Contracts of Employment Act 1963.

The main goal of the 1996 Act is to concern itself with the rights of employees and workers. This includes the likes of notice periods before dismissal and parental leave.

So, an Employment Rights Act 1996 summary is as follows—it provides employees and workers across the UK with rights while working for your business.

Important employee rights

Your staff can expect fair policies that treat them with respect.

In the list below, you can read the most common rights in current UK law. You should offer employees and workers:

  • At least the National Minimum Wage—as of April 2019 that’s:
    • £8.21 for 25 year olds and over.
    • £7.70 for 21 to 24 year olds.
    • £6.15 to 18 to 20 year olds.
    • £4.35 to under 18s.
    • £3.90 to apprentices.
  • Have a contract of employment within two months of starting a role. It should explain the:
    • Job title.
    • Hours of work.
    • Wage (monthly or weekly).
    • Holiday and sick leave entitlement.
    • Your pension scheme.
    • Minimum notice period.
    • Your disciplinary procedure.
    • The process of reporting a grievance.
  • Payslip with details on the wage and deductions such as National Insurance.
  • Discrimination is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Staff can claim daily rest breaks of at least 20 minutes if they work over six consecutive hours each day.
  • Staff can also claim weekly rest breaks.
  • The right to time off, with no pay, for training purposes.
  • The right to time off, with no pay, to deal with emergencies.
  • Female staff can take time off for antenatal care.
  • Female staff have 52 weeks of maternity leave.
  • Eligible male staff can claim one or two weeks of paternity leave.
  • Staff shouldn’t face harassment or victimisation.
  • Notice of dismissal if their time with your business is over one month.
  • A support person to attend if there’s a disciplinary hearing.
  • The same contractual rights, whether fixed-term or otherwise.

Employee rights after long service

If a member of staff stays with your business over a certain period (typically six months), they can expect more privileges.

This, of course, means any new starters will have fewer. But even after a short amount of time they can make request from you.

For example, employment rights with less than 2 years of service can involve flexible working. After 26 weeks (that’s six months), they can ask you for that.

They may do this as they want to improve their work-life balance—but you’re under no legal obligation to accept the request.

After 12 months they can request parental leave (there’s no pay if they go on this).

Employment rights after 2 years change further still. For example, after 24 months they can make a claim for unfair dismissal, which can lead to financial compensation.

Peninsula Business Services can help

Employment law is often an issue many small and medium businesses need immediate assistance with.

And you can refer to our employment law advice line for support—regardless of the issue. Since 1983, we’ve assisted tens of thousands of businesses with problems.

Whether it’s a breach of contract or helping you restore a positive relationship with an employee, our expert service will help you.

You can also refer to our 24/7 HR outsourcing services for assistance with your workforce for any human resources needs.

Employer VS employee rights

On a final note, you should remember that, although it’s important to respect your employees’ rights, your business also has many rights.

Staff must also respect your company policies. If they breach the terms in the employment contract, then you may legally dismiss them from your organisation.

From time to time, employees can commit serious breaches. A common example is through an act of gross misconduct. At such a time, you can look to dismiss them instantly without notice.

It’s important to establish what your policies are when a new starter first joins your business.

This way you can limit the possibilities of an employee breaching your rights.

Need our help?

Get in touch and we'll help you with any issue relating to employment rights: 0800 028 2420.

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