Your basic employee rights

What are my employment rights

Nearly all workers, regardless of the number of hours per week they work, have certain legal rights. There are however some workers who are not entitled to certain statutory rights (see below).

Sometimes an employee only gains a right when they have been employed by their employer for a certain length of time, and when this applies, the length of time before the employee gains the right is listed below. Unless you are in the group of workers who are excluded (see Workers not entitled to certain statutory rights), you will have the following statutory rights:-

  • the right to a written statement of terms of employment within two months of starting work
  • the right to an itemised pay slip and the right to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. This applies from the day the employee starts work
  • the right not to have illegal deductions made from pay and the right to paid holiday. Full-time employees are entitled to at least 28 days a year (including statutory Bank Holidays). Part-time employees are entitled to a pro rata amount
  • the right to time off for trade union duties and activities. This applies from the day the employee starts work. The time off does not necessarily have to be paid. Employees also have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative to a disciplinary or grievance hearing. If an employee takes part in official industrial action and is dismissed as a result, this will be an automatically unfair dismissal
  • the right to paid time off to look for work if being made redundant. This applies once the employee has worked for two years for that employer
  • the right to time off for study or training for 16-17 year olds
  • the right to paid time off for antenatal care
  • the right to paid maternity leave
  • the right to paid paternity leave
  • the right to ask for flexible working to care for children or adult dependants
  • the right to paid adoption leave
  • the right to ask for flexible working
  • the right to take unpaid parental leave for both men and women (if you have worked for the employer for one year) and the right to reasonable time off to look after dependants in an emergency (applies from the day the employee starts work)
  • the right under Health and Safety law to work a maximum 48 hour working week
  • the right under Health and Safety law to weekly and daily rest breaks
  • the right not to be discriminated against
  • the right to carry on working until you are at least 65
  • the right to notice of dismissal, provided you have worked for your employer for at least one calendar month
  • the right to written reasons for dismissal from your employer, provided you have worked for your employer for one year. Women who are pregnant or on maternity leave are entitled to written reasons without having to have worked for any particular length of time
  • the right to claim compensation if unfairly dismissed. In most cases you will have had to have worked for one year to be able to claim unfair dismissal
  • the right to claim redundancy pay if made redundant. In most cases you will have had to have worked for two years to be able to claim redundancy pay

  • the right not to suffer detriment or dismissal for ‘blowing the whistle’ on a matter of public concern (malpractice) at the workplace

  • the right of a part-time worker to the same contractual rights (pro-rata) as a comparable full-time worker

  • the right of a fixed-term employee to the same contractual rights as a comparable permanent employee

You may also have additional rights which may be set out in your contract of employment.

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