Employment Rights

Businesswoman Working At Desk In WarehouseAs an employee in the UK, current legislation entitles you to several rights which serve to make sure that you are treated well, equally and fairly. Knowledge of your basic employment rights can be invaluable if something goes wrong in your work place, so that you can be aware of what you are entitled to legally in terms of resolving the problem.

Statutory protection 

The following pieces of legislation constitute the statutory protection for all employees in the UK:

  • The Equal Pay Act 1970
  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • The Race Relations Act 1976
  • The Employment Rights Act 1996
  • The Protection From Harassment Act 1997
  • Employment Equality Regulations 2003
  • EC Equal Treatment Directive 76/207

It is also important to be aware of the National Minimum Wage. If you are an agency worker or a casual worker, there is also statutory protection you should be aware of. 

Time off and time at work

Maximum 48-hour week

The Working Time Regulations prevent an employer from compelling an employee to work more than 48 hours per week. As an employee you can give written consent to work over and above these hours, though this can only be done on an individual basis.

Compulsory rest breaks

All employees are, by right, entitled to a certain amount of rest time. The minimum level of compulsory rest breaks is different for adult (over the age of 18) and young workers, and is divided into three categories:

Rest breaks at work:

  • Adult workers: 20 minutes for every six hours worked.
  • Young workers: 30 minutes break if the working day is longer than 4.5 hours.

Daily rest:

  • Adult workers: 11 consecutive hours between each working day.
  • Young workers: 12 consecutive hours between each working day.

Weekly rest:

  • Adult workers: 24 hours each week (or 48 per fortnight).
  • Young workers: 48 hours each week. 

You should also be aware of your statutory right to paid leave. 

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