Welcome to The Employability Forum
Our mission is to provide you with the tools you need to find employment in the UK, and how you can improve your employment if you are already employed.
Let's begin by looking at how employment laws in the UK may affect you.
As an employee in the United Kingdom, you are covered by a vast number of different employment laws. These laws are designed to protect both the employer and the employee. Breaking these laws can result in a fine for the company or even a prison sentence for the legally liable person, if the breach is deemed to be serious enough. There are too many employment laws in the United Kingdom to be able to cover every one in a single article, so this piece will only touch on the major laws that could affect you as an employee.
National Minimum Wage
All employees have the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage for their age group and employment type. As of October 2016, the minimum wage for people over the age of 25 was £7.20 per hour. Those aged 21 to 24 are entitled to £6.95, those aged 18 to 20 are eligible for £5.55 per hour and those who are under 18 years old are entitled to £4.00. If you are on a formal apprenticeship scheme then the National Minimum Wage is £3.40. All rates can be found on the governments website.
Pregnant employees must be given a reasonable amount of time off to attend medical appointments that are related to their pregnancy. The partner of a woman who is pregnant is also able to take unpaid time off of work to accompany their partner to her antenatal appointments.
The employee is permitted to take up to fifty two weeks off as maternity leave, which can be divided into twenty six weeks of ordinary maternity leave and twenty six weeks of additional maternity leave. An employee is entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay if they've been in regular employment with their employer for at minimum twenty six weeks, and the fifteenth week of employment concluding before the week when childbirth is expected. Those who are entitled to SMP are eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of maternity leave, and then £139.58 or 90% of the average weekly earnings (whichever figure is lower) for the next thirty three weeks of their leave. Those who are not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay will receive a maternity allowance from the government. As of 2015, many fathers have been given the right to share statutory leave and pay if the mother chooses not to use all of her allowance.
Employees with children have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with an emergency situation involving their dependants. Equality laws mean that they cannot be discriminated against or victimised for taking this time off. The parent may be expected to make alternative arrangements in non-emergency situations, but the employer should be fair and reasonable about these requests.
Health & Safety
All employers have a responsibility to their employees health and safety at work which means they have to make sure their employees are protected against anything that could cause them harm. Risk assessments should always be undertaken to ascertain what risks exist that may cause harm to their employees in their workplace environment. The employer should inform their employees of any risks involved and inform employees of how they are protected from these risks, and provide training where necessary. Ensuring employers follow Health and Safety guidelines not only protects their employees from possible injury but also helps protect the employer if a claim for a work injury is brought against them.
Health and Safety at work is a two way street and as an employee you also have responsibilities. Employees are not only responsible for their own health and safety but of fellow workers and to any people that may be affected by the actions you take.
Employers may not discriminate against employees or job applicants because of their age, race, sex, disability, marital status (including civil partnerships), sexual orientation, pregnancy, or religious beliefs. The UK Equality Act also seeks to protect people from harassment in the workplace. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that employees are not suffering discrimination or harassment from any of their colleagues.
Employees are entitled to a minimum amount of paid annual leave every year, based on how much they work over the course of the year. All employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday, which can include bank holidays and national holidays such as Christmas Day. Part-time workers are entitled to the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of paid leave per year, based on their working pattern. For example, if a part-time employee normally works 4 days a week, they would be entitled to 22.4 days holiday (based on 5.6 weeks multiplied by 0.8 of a working week). If a worker has to work on a Bank Holiday, they will be given another day off in lieu.
Termination of Contract
All employees who have been in their current role for longer than 1 month are required to give notice of at least one week. The employer is required to give the employee the same notice period if they wish to terminate the contract. Those who have been working for more than two years of continuous employment must be given one week for each year of employment, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. The length of time that an employee must give should be stipulated in their employment contract. This figure can be challenged if it is deemed to be unreasonable.
If an employee is made redundant by their employer, then the employee is entitled to receive compensation payment for their lost employment. The amount that they are entitled to receive will be calculated based on their weekly pay, age and length of service. Redundancy payments are only required for those who have been in continuous employment for at least two years.