Employment Rights

This section provides a short synopsis of the rights and responsibilities involved in a job. While we cover the main things that we’ve found to be important, this is should not be construed as legal advice and the list is not exhaustive – more information can be found by following the links given below. In general our advice is to talk with your prospective employer before you accept a job to find out more about the terms that they offer and their approach to employment.


1) Being recruited for a job

The advert should give a clear guide to the requirements of the job including expectations about performance, a person spec or job profile. It may also state necessary and desirable criteria. The job advert may not, however, be discriminatory.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 employers may have to offer applications in different formats.

The term “intern” doesn’t have any legal status. Depending on your employment status you have different rights.

Once a person has reached the minimum school leaving age they can work up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
Young workers aged 16 to 17 are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage. They are entitled to at least £3.68 per hour.


2) Being offered a job

Employers are legally required to check certain things before they may employ someone. These can include:

This can offered verbally or in a written document. As soon as the job offer has been accepted a contract has been entered into.

Once an employee has been employed for 1 month they have the statutory duty to be given a written statement of particulars of employment. Initially this must include:

The Employer will also have to tell an employee about other terms and conditions, such as pension entitlement, sick pay, fixed term contract, disciplinary and grievance policies. Some employers will refer employees their company handbook or other shared policies which satisfies the requirement of the 1996 Employment Rights Act. If you have been told about these documents it is your responsibility to read them.

Not everything may be written in a contract. Called Implied Terms, these are automatically part of a contract and include things like not stealing from the employer or having something necessary for the job like a driver having a valid licence.


3) Getting paid

When you get paid you should get a pay slip. This should include the following:


4) Having time off

Most full time workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year. Part time workers’ holiday is calculated on a pro rata basis. Bank or Public Holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. They can be included as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.


5) Things going wrong

By law employers must have a written Grievance Policy and ensure employees have seen it so you know what to do.

Bullying and Harassment – ACAS characterises bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.”
Harassment is defined as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic* which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.
*A protected characteristic includes age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Should you find yourself in such a situation use the policy for guidance, talk to your line-manager, or, if that is inappropriate, the HR manager or another senior manager in whom you have confidence. You have the right to work without harassment.


6) Danger and Risk

It is primarily the responsibility of the employer to ensure any risks in your working environment are properly controlled. As an employee, however, you have a duty of care for your own health and safety and that of others that might be affected by your actions.


7) Leaving

If you have worked for more than 1 month you should give your employer 1 week’s notice of your intention to quit. You can give notice verbally but it’s better to do so in writing. Check what your contract requires you to do so that you are not in breach of it.


Useful links