Knowing your employee rights is important, but they’re not always made clear when you start a new job. Employees have many rights that are protected by law and you should make sure that you know them so that you can protect yourself – and others.

Employee rights are there to make sure that you are treated fairly by your employer. Here are some of the most important rights that you should know…

The right to health and safety at work

As an employee, you have a right to work in a safe environment, where any risks to your health and safety are properly controlled. Your employer has a duty to ensure that you have:

  • A clean environment to work in
  • Any necessary protective clothing
  • Water for drinking
  • First aid equipment

You are also entitled to a break of at least 20 minutes when you have worked for more than six hours, and you must also get at least one day off in every seven days.

The right to equal pay and minimum wage

UK workers must be paid the National Minimum Wage. This is broken down by age – for example, if you are 25 and over you must be paid at least £8.21 per hour. If you are under 18, you must be paid at least £4.35 per hour. Your employer must also give you a payslip breaking down your pay and any deductions.

The Equality Act 2010 also states that women and men must receive equal pay and contractual benefits for equal work. 

The right to maximum working hours

You cannot be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours per week. If you agree to work longer than this, it must be in writing. 

You also have a right to paid holiday each year. Full time workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday (this can include Bank Holidays) and part time workers get a pro rata entitlement.

You can also take unpaid leave for emergencies – such as looking after a dependent.

The right to parental leave

Parental leave is enshrined in law for both parents. The mother has the right to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave and fathers may take up to two weeks of paid paternity leave. Pay for parental leave can vary, depending on how long you have worked at a company.

Shared parental leave is also an option. This allows parents to share 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay.

The right not to be discriminated against

Your employer must not discriminate against you on the grounds of gender, sexuality, age, background, race, religious beliefs, marriage and partnership, pregnancy or disability. This includes not choosing you for promotion, not paying you the same and not giving you the same opportunities as others.

If you’re not sure that your employee rights are being met…

These are just some of the many rights that employees have. If you don’t think that your rights are being met, it is important to get advice. If you’re looking for an employment lawyer in Cheshire or Staffordshire, Beeston Shenton’s dedicated employment team will be able to help. You can get in touch today.