Understanding your workplace employee rights
Employee rights in the workplace are designed to balance the expectations of the job with the fair treatment of the employee doing it. Your exact employment rights will vary depending on the kind of job you do, the arrangement you have with your employer and many other variables.
Your rights at work come from both your statutory rights and your employment contract.
Statutory rights are legal rights that nearly all workers are entitled to. They apply as soon as you start your employment and include:
- The right to be paid at least the National Living Minimum Wage and for your employer to not make illegal deductions from your pay
- The right to a certain amount of paid holiday each year, as well as being able to take paid time off for antenatal care, maternity, paternity and adoption leave
- The right to not be discriminated against, dismissed or treated unfairly in the workplace
- After six months (26 weeks) of working for an employer, you have the right to submit a request for flexible working.
As an employee you may have some additional rights set out in your contract or the terms and conditions of your employment. Although these rights are not required by law, once these have been agreed upon your employer must uphold them – if they do not, they could be held liable for breach of contract.
If you are unsure whether your employer is treating you fairly or is allowed to dismiss your request for flexible working, please speak to our team of experts. We can review your terms and conditions and let you know whether you have a claim or not.
Next steps: get in touch
It’s really important for you to understand your rights at work and so if you have any questions or concerns please contact our team of expert on: 0800 533 5349 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Frequently asked questions
Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. The first 26 weeks are known as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and the last 26 weeks as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’. The earliest that leave can be taken is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, unless the baby is born early.
The paternity leave entitlement for new dads in the UK is up to two consecutive weeks, depending on how long they’ve been in their job. To get the full entitlement, you must have been working for the same employer for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the week your baby is due.
Your employer cannot refuse or postpone your paternity leave as long as you have given them the right amount of notice. It’s against the law for your employer to dismiss you or treat you unfairly in any other way just because you tell them you want to take paternity leave.
By law, employees have the right to make a flexible working request if: they have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks (6 months) and you have not made any other flexible working request in the last 12 months.
You can ask to work from home, but that doesn’t mean your employer has to agree. Start by having an open conversation with your employer about your wishes, and consider making a flexible working request, which is a legal right all employees have.
Ultimately, this will come down to the reasons behind your request, and whether it’s sustainable for you to be working from home. Any concerns you have about returning to work should be addressed with your employer as soon as possible.
Your employer owes you a duty of care. The law is very clear: if you feel that your place of work is unsafe and that you would be protected when taking certain measures, such as working from home, this must be explored. You may also be eligible to make a formal request to work from home; in this situation, your employer would have to justify any refusal by relying upon one of the specific statutory grounds