Know your employees’ rights – it could help avoid costly mistakes

Being aware of your employees’ rights that are provided by law is a must for any employer. ConciseHR can help review your documents and processes to keep you compliant, but take a look over the rights listed out below.


Work rights for everyone


From the first day of work, all people at work, including agency workers, have the following rights:


  • The National Minimum wage
  • Health & Safety Protection
  • Working Time Rights (includes paid holidays, breaks and a limit on the working week).
  • The Right to Join a Union
  • Protection from Unlawful Discrimination


Rights for legal status “employees”


Rights on applying for a job

  • Not to be discriminated against in a job selection process on the grounds of  trade union membership, sex (including pregnancy/ maternity status), race (including nationality), disability, age, sexual orientation, religion/ belief (including lack thereof), or being transgender.

Rights from first day at work

  • A right not to have deductions made from pay (with some exceptions such as for tax) unless as an employer you have the contractual power to make the deductions and the employee has agreed to them in advance.
  • A right to Statutory Sick Pay provided National Insurance contributions are being paid by the employee.
  • A right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of  trade union membership, sex (including pregnancy/ maternity status), race (including nationality), disability, age, sexual orientation, religion/ belief (including lack thereof), or being transgender.
  • A right to equal pay with members of the opposite sex doing the same job, a similar job, or a job of equal value to you.
  • An entitlement to 52 weeks’ maternity leave, even if your employee was pregnant when she started the job.
  • Time off for medical appointments if your employee is pregnant.
  • Time off as unpaid leave to deal with unexpected emergencies involving family members or people who rely on your employee for their care.
  • The  right for a trade union to be recognised by the employer to negotiate working conditions if at least 10% of the people in the department/ workplace are members of that union and the union can show that the majority of employees in that department/ workplace are likely to support it being formally recognised.
  • The right to take a trade union representative or fellow worker into a disciplinary, grievance hearing, flexible working request meeting, and time off to train request meeting.
  • Can claim wrongful dismissal if you dismiss without giving the agreed notice, or resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal if it breaks a fundamental term of your employee’s contract.
  • Although more service is needed before your employee is able to claim general unfair dismissal, they can already complain about dismissal on certain grounds (e.g. dismissal for whistle-blowing, or on the basis of a protected characteristic such as race).
  • A right not to be unfairly dismissed for political views.
  • A mother’s partner has the right to attend up to 2 ante-natal appointments with the expectant mother.

Rights after a month

  • To be given one week’s notice of dismissal (or more, if the contract entitles your employee to a longer notice).
  • To be paid if suspended on medical grounds.
  • To be paid wages where laid off (where you ask your employee to work for at least a day less per week than usual).

Rights after eight weeks

  • Entitlement to a written statement of  terms of employment which must include  pay, hours, where your employee is expected to work, holidays and other benefits such as a pension entitlement.

Rights after 26 weeks

  • A right to request flexible working
  • To take shared parental leave (for babies born/adopted on or after 5th April 2015)

Rights after two years’ service

  • To claim unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal (after first advising ACAS for conciliation to be considered).
  • To claim statutory redundancy pay where dismissed due to redundancy.
  • A right, on request, to written reasons for dismissal. If your employee was dismissed because of pregnancy, maternity or childbirth, this right is from day one of employment.