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.
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.
- If you are a worker you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage, statutory holiday etc. You may not get a minimum notice period or statutory redundancy pay.
- If you are a volunteer you don’t have a contract of employment or the rights of an employee or worker. You may have your expenses covered.
- If you are an employee you have a contract of employment and the rights that come with one.
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.
Employers are legally required to check certain things before they may employ someone. These can include:
- Eligibility of a person to work in the UK
- CRB checks if working with children or vulnerable adults
- Criminal Records: if you have a criminal record you do not generally have to disclose it unless asked. If you are applying for employment listed as an exception in the ROA 1974 you may be required to declare it even if the conviction has been spent. Take advice from organisations that support ex-offenders such as www.nacro.org.uk or www.unlock.org.uk.
- References: the reference should be accurate, based on fact or capable of independent verification.
- Medical Questionnaires: under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful to ask a candidate to do a medical check before being offered a job. Any particular physical or medical requirements should be made clear in the initial stages such as the job advert.
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
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:
- Name of employer and employee
- Date employment started
- Date when continuous employment began
- Remuneration – rate of pay
- When payment is made (eg weekly, monthly etc)
- Hours of work
- Holiday and Holiday pay entitlement
- Job title or brief job description
- Place(s) of work
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.
When you get paid you should get a pay slip. This should include the following:
- Name of employer
- Name and address of employee
- Tax code – provided by Inland Revenue, this tell the employer how much tax to deduct. The code can change
- National Insurance (NI) number – your personal number which doesn’t change.
- Payment, including bonuses – this will be shown gross (before any deductions have been made for NI, tax etc.)
- Deductions – money taken from your pay for taxes, NI, student loans etc
- Year to Date – the financial year runs from 6th to 5th April and the number here indicates how much you’ve paid so far
- Net Pay – your take-home pay. Check this against payments made into your bank account, or the amount written on a cheque or cash.
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.
- If you are too ill to work you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- If you become pregnant you are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
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.
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.
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.