Five employee rights you need to know

In this article Hubert Day discuss the importance of knowing your rights as an employee because they are designed to protect both you and others, contributing to a better quality of life and work.

If you are classed as an employee (i.e. if your work is supervised by a manager, you can’t refuse to do it, it is consistently available, and you are required to work regularly unless on leave), then you have certain rights under UK law. It is important to understand your rights as an employee because they are designed to protect both you and others, contributing to a better quality of life and work.

Here we list the top five employee rights you need to know.

Employee right 1: Right to not to be discriminated against

Many employee rights do not begin until you have worked for your employer for one year – however, the right to not be discriminated against is immediate. You have the right to not be discriminated against on the grounds of gender (including transgender), age, sexual orientation, ethnicity (including nationality), religion/belief (including having no religion or belief), sex, pregnancy, and marital/civil partnership status from day one of your contract.

Employee right 2: Right to payslips

While this might seem an odd one, the right to payslips is essential for you to understand which deductions are being made on your behalf (such as tax and National Insurance). It is also important that this right exists so that you can check that you are indeed being paid what was agreed in your employment contract with your employer. This right, too, is applicable from day one of your employment.

Employee right 3: Right to a safe and healthy workplace

From day one, you also have the right to work in an environment where health and safety are properly controlled. This includes the right to stop work and leave an area if you believe that your safety is in danger. However, you must work together with your employer and your co-workers to help ensure that the measures required to make an appropriate working environment are applied.

Employee right 4: Right to maternity leave and statutory maternity pay

As a woman, you have the right to 52 weeks of maternity leave, even if you’re pregnant when you join an organisation. However, this does not mean you have the right to maternity pay.

If you have worked for your employer in the 15th week before your child is due to be born and have worked for them at least 26 weeks before that, then you are entitled to statutory maternity pay. You may be entitled to different contractual maternity leave arrangements and pay as part of your contract with your employer. However, this should never be less than statutory maternity leave and pay.

Employee right 5: Right to sick pay

Once you have started working for your employer, and if you are earning more than £120 per week, you are entitled to claim statutory sick pay for days off sick. You can claim once you have taken four days off in a row, but you will need a “fit note” from your doctor or hospital. You do not have the right to claim this if you are on maternity leave or are self-isolating after returning to the UK.

Knowing these key rights should ensure you are paid and treated appropriately.

Hubert Day, Freelance Content Producer and Researcher

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