What are my Rights as an Employee in the UK?

Employment Rights UK

Employees of any company in the UK have rights, most of which are protected by law, regardless of what is stated in your employment contract. As such if these laws are broken a UK employee can appeal to the courts for compensation(e.g. For unfair dismissal or discrimination against race, disabilities or pregnancy etc.).

Statutory Rights vs Contractual Rights

Some of the rights for employees are statutory, which means they are governed by law and apply to all UK employees. Other employee rights are contractual, meaning that they outlined by your current employer in the employment contract you signed. Contractual rights are legal rights, but they will not apply to everyone.

Your contractual rights cannot take away the statutory rights you have by law. For example, your contract may state that you're only entitled to two weeks paid leave, whereas by law all UK employees are entitled to 28 days paid leave . However, if your employment contract states that you are entitled to 6 weeks paid holiday leave, this applies not the statutory 28 days as stated by law.

Statutory Rights for UK Employees

Nearly all workers, regardless of the number of hours per week they work, have certain legal rights. Below is a list of these rights:

  • the right for part-time workers to have the same contractual rights at full-time employees
  • the right for fixed-term employees to have the same contractual rights as full-time employees
  • the right to a written statement of terms of employment
  • the right to an itemised pay slip
  • to be paid at least the national minimum wage
  • the right not have illegal deductions from wages
  • the right to 28 days paid holiday per year
  • the right to have time off for trade union duties
  • the right to time off to look for work if made redundant
  • the right to claim redundancy pay if made redundant
  • the right for time for to study if below the age of 18 years old
  • the right to paid time off for ante natal care
  • the right to up to 52 weeks off for maternity leave
  • the right to up to two weeks off for paternity leave
  • the right to paid leave if adopting a child
  • the right to unpaid parental leave for mothers and fathers
  • the right to ask for flexible working hours
  • the right to work a maximum working week of 48 hours (under Health and Safety law)
  • the right to daily and weekly breaks (under Health and Safety law)
  • the right to carry on working until you reach the age of 65 years old
  • the right not to be discriminated against
  • the right to notice of dismissal
  • the right to a written statement of why you're being dismissed
  • the right to claim compensation if unfairly dismissed from work
  • the right to to be dismissed if 'blowing the whistle' on illegal practices

UK Workers not entitled to certain Statutory Rights

There are some workers who are not entitled to certain statutory rights.

These include:

  • freelance agency workers
  • UK citizens who work outside the UK
  • members of the police and armed services
  • trainee doctors do not have a limit on their working weekly hours or paid holiday
  • merchant seamen and share fishermen
  • certain employees working in the transport industry

Contractual Rights and Contracts for Employment

Contractual rights for UK employees will be outlined in the 'contract of employment' between the employee and the employer. This contract can be written or verbal. Either must be adhered to if agreed upon.

In addition, the contract of employment will also include ‘custom and practice’ agreements. These are how things that are usually done in the workplace.Interesting if employees, with the employer's knowledge, put into practice procedures that are not written down in the 'custom and practice' agreement, these practices will form the 'custom and practice' agreement rather than what is written.

Illegal Contracts of Employment

Some practices are deemed illegal, including:

  • cash in hand wages
  • non payment of National Insurance contributions
  • employees being paid in ways that bypass NI or tax payments

Terms of Contracts of Employment

All employees, whether full-time or part-time workers are entitled to a written contact that outlines:

  • job title
  • wages
  • hours of work
  • holiday entitlements
  • sick pay
  • notice
  • pension schemes outlined dismissal and disciplinary procedures

Other areas of Contracts of Employment

Other areas of the Contract of Employment include:

  • Wages - being paid the national minimum wage without illegal deductions
  • Holiday entitlement - at least 28 days paid leave or 5.6 weeks per year
  • Bank Holidays - Employees entitled to 8 Bank Holiday days off a year will then be entitled to an additional 20 days off paid holiday leave
  • Sick pay - Many employees are entitled to sickness pay, though this will depend on the contract of employment on a company by company basis

For more details about statutory rights of employment and contracts of employment please visit https://www.gov.uk/