Employee rights vary depending on the kind of work you do. Some employees are entitled to overtime pay while others aren’t. Others are guaranteed certain hours off each week. Still others receive paid vacation days. And some workers even have the right to unionize.
1. Overtime pay
If you work 40 hours a week, employers must give you one hour of extra pay for every hour over 40. This rule applies to salaried employees and hourly wage earners alike. If you work more than 40 hours per week, you’ll still earn overtime pay, but it won’t be based on how many hours you worked. Instead, you’ll earn one additional hour of pay for every four hours you work beyond 40. For example, if you work 50 hours in a single week, you’d earn five hours of overtime pay.
2. Paid sick leave
Most states require employers to provide workers with paid sick leave. In fact, 29 states mandate that employers offer up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. However, there are exceptions. Employers don’t have to offer paid sick leave if they have fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees.
3. Family medical leave
Family medical leave helps ensure that parents and caregivers can take care of themselves without worrying about losing income. Most countries guarantee 12 weeks of family medical leave.
What Are Employee Rights?
Employee rights include everything from minimum wage, paid leave and sick pay to holiday pay, maternity/parental leave and much more. These rights are important because without them, you could end up losing money. If you don’t protect yourself against unfair practices, you could lose out on thousands of pounds.
The law says employers must provide all employees with “a safe working environment free from unlawful harassment or discrimination.” This includes things like sexual harassment, bullying, racism, religious discrimination, disability discrimination and ageism.
If you’re unsure about what your employer is doing wrong, it’s best to speak to someone who knows how to deal with employment issues. An Employment Lawyer can help you understand your legal options and advise you on the best course of action to take.
The History of Employee Rights
In 1793, the British Parliament passed the first piece of legislation designed to protect workers from unfair treatment. Called the Master and Servant Act, it prohibited employers from treating their servants badly. This law was followed up in 1824 with the Master and Servants Act, which protected both master and servant from being treated unfairly. In 1833, Britain abolished slavery throughout the Empire, making it illegal to enslave people anywhere in the world. Finally, in 1896, Parliament passed the Employers Liability Act, which required employers to pay compensation to injured employees. These three laws are collectively known as the “Employment Rights Acts.”
What Rights Do I Have?
The United Kingdom offers many different types of employment rights. Some of these rights apply to everyone, while others are restricted to certain groups of people.
Employment Rights Overview
There are four main categories of employment rights. They are listed here along with some examples of each type of right:
1. Discrimination – You cannot be discriminated against because you are a woman, black, gay, disabled, pregnant, Muslim, or anything else.
2. Unpaid Overtime – Employees must receive overtime pay when they work over 40 hours per week.
3. Minimum Wage – Employers must pay employees enough money to live on. In most countries, the minimum wage is set by law.
4. Family Leave – Families can take unpaid leave to care for children, elderly parents, or anyone else. Many companies offer family leave benefits.
1. You Have Rights as a Job Applicant
Even if you aren’t hired, you still have some rights as a job applicant, according to a recent ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In a case involving a former employee, the EEOC ruled that discrimination based on age, sex, race, national origin and religion violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes refusing to hire someone because of his or her age, race, gender, national origin, religion, etc.
The EEOC stated that even though the person wasn’t hired, he or she had the right to sue. “While we don’t know what happened in this particular case, it is clear that the employer violated the law,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang during a press conference. “Employers cannot use stereotypes about older workers, women, people of color or religious minorities to justify treating them unfairly.”
In addition, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. For example, if an employee needs special equipment to perform certain tasks, the employer must make sure that the equipment is accessible. If there isn’t enough space to store equipment, the employer must find another place for it.
2. A job contract should be given to you.
Employees should receive a written contract of employment. This document gives you some legal protection against being fired without cause. If you don’t receive one, it could mean that there is no agreement between you and your employer. An employee handbook is often included in the contract.
A contract will protect both parties. For example, if you’re hired to work 40 hours per week, but your employer fires you after only 30 hours, the contract protects you from having to pay for the remaining 10 hours.
The contract will help prevent misunderstandings. For instance, if you’re working for free, your contract should state what type of compensation you’ll receive.
If you’re employed under federal law, employers must provide a written contract of employment to you within three days of hiring you. However, states vary widely regarding whether they require contracts. Some states do not require contracts; others require them. Check with your state labor department for specific requirements.
3. You must get pay stubs, and deductions should be easy to understand.
Pay slips are meant to show you how much money you make each week. They tell you whether you’re getting paid overtime, if you’ve been docked pay for taking too many sick days, and if you’ll receive a bonus. But it’s important to keep in mind that payslips aren’t just about showing off your salary. They’re also about protecting yourself against fraud.
If you don’t receive payslips, you could end up paying tax late, missing out on some deductions, or even being cheated out of wages.
Employees should know what they will actually be paid before they sign a contract. If they don’t, they might unknowingly agree to work for less than they deserve.
And while employers often provide employees with a summary of their pay slip, it’s still vital that employees check every detail.
For example, if you’re working in retail, you’ll want to make sure that your employer doesn’t deduct any sales tax. And if you’re self-employed, you’ll want to double-check that your tax information is correct.
4. People shouldn’t treat you badly.
Discrimination occurs when an employer treats you unfairly because of a protected characteristic like race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status. This type of behavior is illegal under federal law, state law, local ordinances and even employment policies.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for enforcing equal opportunity laws, defines discrimination as including hiring decisions, compensation, job assignments, promotions, training opportunities, benefits, discipline, layoffs, termination and retaliation. In addition, there are many state and local agencies that enforce anti-discrimination laws.
If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, it’s important to know what your options are. Here are some things to consider:
1. Contact Your Employer
You might think contacting your boss directly won’t do much good. But it could help. If you’re being harassed or fired, contact your human resources department immediately. They’ll investigate the situation and make sure you receive fair treatment.
2. File A Lawsuit
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against based on one of the above characteristics, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. Depending on where you live, filing a complaint with the EEOC may be enough to start legal proceedings. However, it’s always best to consult an attorney about your case. An experienced lawyer can evaluate whether you have a strong claim and advise you on how to proceed.
5. You have the right to breaks and reasonable hours of work.
The Fair Work Ombudsman says employers are required to give employees proper rest breaks and reasonable hours of work. This includes ensuring workers get enough sleep and don’t work excessive hours. If you think you’ve been short-changed, it’s important to speak up about it.
6. Under health and safety rules, you should be safe.
The law requires employers to protect employees from risks to health and safety at work. This includes providing suitable clothing, equipment and facilities, and ensuring that there are adequate systems in place to deal with emergencies. Workers should never be exposed to risks without appropriate protection. They should know what to do in case of emergency, and where to go for help.
Employers are legally responsible for injuries sustained by their employees. If you fail to ensure that your employees are protected properly, you could face serious consequences. These include being fined up to £5,500 per person injured; having your licence revoked; or even facing criminal charges.
7. You have the right to vacation and time off.
The law says you must give employees paid annual leave and time-off to take care of themselves. This includes taking sick days, having time off to look after dependants or deal with bereavement. If you don’t offer it, you could face legal action.
If you employ workers over 20 hours per week, you must pay them statutory holiday entitlement. These include bank holidays, Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday, October Half Term, November Thanksgiving, December 25th, January 1st, February 2nd, April 5th, May 4th, June 3rd, July 7th, September 3rd, October 8th, November 11th, December 12th, and New Year’s Eve.
You must also provide unpaid time off for certain reasons such as caring for dependents, attending funerals, being absent because of illness, or dealing with bereavement.
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is another benefit which provides income replacement benefits to people who cannot work because of sickness or injury. SSP covers up to 80% of earnings lost while recovering from an accident or illness.
8. You can take time off for your family
Parental leave is available for anyone who gives birth, adoptes a child, or fostered a child with the intention of adopting. This includes biological parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, foster parents, stepparents, grandparents, and legal guardians.
There are different forms of parental leaves depending on whether you are single parent, married couple or same sex couple. If you are a single parent or a married couple, you can take up to 12 weeks off work to care for your children. For same sex couples, there is no difference in terms of entitlements, so both partners can take up to 12 months off work.
Shared parental leave is available to married couples who want to split parental responsibilities after giving birth. In shared parental leave, one partner takes up to six months off work while the other cares for the baby. After the baby is six months old, the two parents switch roles.
If you are a single parent you can take up to four months off work.
You can take up to three months off work if you are a single parent who adopted a child under 18 months old.
In addition to maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, and shared parental leave, there are also several other types of family leave available. These include bereavement leave, compassionate leave, sick leave, and unpaid leave.
9. During layoffs, you are entitled to money.
Employers must pay employees during periods where they are laid off. This is known as ‘short-time working’. However, employers don’t always know whether a worker is eligible for such payments. They might think they aren’t because the worker isn’t being paid, but the law says otherwise. If you are laid off, you are still considered to be employed even though you won’t be getting paid. Employers are legally required to make sure you get paid while you’re out of work.
The amount of money you’ll get depends on how long you’ve been unemployed and what type of job you had. Your employer must pay you a guaranteed weekly salary equivalent to at least 80% of your average earnings over the previous four weeks. If you worked fewer hours than usual, the guarantee figure will be lower.
If you are on a short-term contract, your employer must continue paying you if they decide to end it early. If you are on a permanent contract, however, your employer doesn’t have to keep paying you beyond the agreed period.
10. Part-time and fixed-term workers have the same rights as you.
Full-time workers enjoy the same employment rights as permanent employees. They are entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, health insurance, pension contributions, etc. However, there are some differences between the two types of workers.
Part-time workers usually work fewer hours per week than full-timers. For example, a part-timer might work 30 hours per week while a full-timer could work 40 hours per week. This means that part-time workers earn less money than full-timers because they are paid less per hour.
Fixed-term contracts are similar to part-time jobs. You don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing for a certain amount of time. These contracts are often used by companies to avoid paying overtime wages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What laws protect the rights of people who work for a company?
The UK government has introduced several pieces of legislation designed to protect workers’ rights and employee rights. These include the Equality Act 2010, Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, National Minimum Wage Act 1998, Health and Safety at Work etc.
In addition, there are certain regulations that apply to businesses operating within the United Kingdom. For example, the Working Time Regulations 1999 state that working hours must not exceed 48 per week.
Employment law covers many aspects of employment including;
• Fair treatment
• Disability discrimination
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