Three things you should know about your employment rights

It doesn’t matter if you are starting a new job or have been working somewhere for a while, it is always important to make sure that you’re clued up on your rights as an employee.

Although individual firms may have their own rules and decisions about employees, your basic rights are universal and apply wherever you may be.

Read on to find out the key things to remember about your rights, and what you can do if you are concerned.

What happens if you are sick or injured?

Regardless of your employment status, you are always entitled to working in a safe and responsible workspace. The Health and Safety at Work Act demands that employers take care of the health, safety and welfare of anyone working in their organisation, including ensuring that all equipment and workspaces are properly established and maintained.

If you do fall sick or become injured at work, you may be entitled to sick pay, as well as potential compensation, although the amount you can receive can vary depending on individual circumstances.

Know your employment status

In the UK, your rights as an employee are often influenced by your employment status, and there are a few differences to consider here.  Different employee types include being classed as a worker, a self-employed person, or an actual employee.

The main differences between these are in how you may get paid, and who is responsible for the tax on your earnings. If you are classed as a worker, you may have been given a direct contract for specific services, but have no long-term agreement in place for work.

As a worker, you are still entitled to paid holidays and receiving the national minimum wage, and should be given payslips for your salary.

If you are self-employed, you may be working as a freelance individual or as a company. In this case, you would likely provide invoices for your services and are not entitled to sick pay or holiday leave. However, you are still entitled to protection from discrimination and a safe working space.

Employees, meanwhile, will always have a written contract specifying the terms of their role, including expected responsibilities and rights. An employee is entitled to sick pay, holiday pay and parental leave, and can also claim redundancy pay after a fixed period of employment.

You should have adequate rest breaks and working hours

Most employees should not be working over 48 hours a week unless their contract specifically states otherwise. You should also receive regular rest breaks according to the hours worked, to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

Employees are entitled to three different types of rest – an uninterrupted rest break during the workday of at least 20 minutes after six hours of work, daily rest of at least 11 hours between working days, and a weekly rest of at least 24 hours after each working week. These are established to ensure all employees have the chance to recover from work properly.