Employee Rights: What You Need to Know Industry News 24th February 2015 | By Liberty (Image: Flazingo Photos under CC BY 2.0) Employing staff can seem like a daunting task. Both their legal rights and your responsibilities towards them are many and varied, and developing a working understanding of them can take a lot of time and effort. At Pure Commercial Finance we understand that your time is one of your most valuable assets, so we’ve put together an informative guide to give you the overview you need. Employee rights are split into two main groups, statutory and contracted. Statutory rights are legal rights based on laws passed by parliament. These are the rights that will be covered in this guide. Contracted rights are agreed between employers and employees, and will contain ‘custom and practice’ agreements which will detail how things are usually done in the workplace. Statutory Rights Rights to Pay All employees are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage for their work, and to have their pay detailed on an itemised pay slip. They’re also entitled to pay if they are ready and willing to work but you have not provided them with anything to do (unless their employment contract states otherwise). Employees also have the right to sick pay; as well as pay when on maternity, paternity or adoption leave. They are also entitled to a certain number of paid holidays a year (see below). It is also the right of employees not to have illegal deductions made from their pay, and to claim statutory redundancy pay if they have worked for you for at least two calendar years continuously since school-leaving age. Holiday Full-time employees are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks holiday a year. Part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rata amount of this allowance. This applies to all workers regardless of how long they have been employed. Your employees don’t have an automatic right to take bank holidays or public holidays off work, with or without pay. The specifics of this should be detailed in their employment contract. Time Off and Flexible Working Employees have the right to take time off for a number of reasons, including: • Trade union duties and activities • To look for work if being made redundant • Time off for study or training (for 16-17 year olds) • Time off for ante-natal care • Maternity, paternity and adoption leave • Unpaid parental leave (if they have worked for you for over a year) They also, once they’ve worked with you for at least 26 weeks, have the right to ask for flexible working conditions. Health and Safety All employers have a statutory duty to take care of the health and safety of all of their employees. Laws surrounding health and safety cover a wide variety of issues, including cleanliness, noise, machinery, lifting, hazardous substances, toilets and washing facilities, drinking water, seating, first aid facilities, temperatures and the use of computers. Most employees have the right to work a maximum 48-hour working week, and to weekly and daily rest breaks. Harassment and Discrimination All employees have the right not to be discriminated against in the workplace. Protected characteristics and behaviours include age (as employees have the right to carry on working until they’re at least 65) and ‘whistle blowing’. If your employees believe they have been harassed or discriminated against, they have the right to claim compensation. If an individual who you don’t employ believes they were discriminated against during the hiring process, they also have this right. Dismissal and Written Rights All employees are entitled to receive a written statement of the main terms and conditions of their employment within the first two months of starting work. Also, providing an employee has worked for you for two years (if they started on or after 6 April 2012) they are entitled to written reasons for dismissal if their employment is terminated. They must also be given notice of their dismissal provided they have worked for you for at least one month. Pure Commercial Finance As mentioned previously, this guide covers your employees’ statutory rights, and doesn’t go into creating an employment contract, which you will also need to draw up. Being aware of your employees’ rights, as well as your responsibilities to them, makes for a happier, more efficient workplace. Protect yourself and your business by complying with the law, and you’ll soon see the benefits.