Workplace Rights: What are Your Rights as an Employee?
The country is in the midst of an employment revolution. As a cost-of-living crisis deepens, and stress-related work burnout was experienced by an increasing majority over the last year, record numbers of workers in the UK have been trading their jobs for work at a new company, or in a new sector entirely. This ‘great resignation’ has seen UK workers seek better working situations and better treatment, and led to greater understanding of the legal entitlements they have. What follows are some of the major workplace rights enforced by law, and to which all full-time workers are entitled.
Entitlement to Minimum Wage
As an employee, you are entitled to a minimum starting wage under the National Minimum Wage act of 1998. This wage is defined by your age, and whether or not you are classed as an apprentice; the wage increases on a sliding scale with age, up until 23 – at which point the wage caps at a National Living Wage. In April 2022, minimum wages are set for an increase, with the National Living Wage increasing 6.6% from £8.91 to £9.50. Apprentice wages will also increase, with apprentices set to receive a minimum of £4.81 per hour.
Entitlement to Holiday
As a full-time employee, you are entitled to 28 days paid absence from work; with the average working week being Monday to Friday and 40 hours total, the total days of paid absence add up to one day shy of 6 weeks holiday. However, employers are legally allowed to include national bank holidays as part of your total holiday allowance.
Health and Safety
As an employee, your safety in the workplace is to be ensured by your employer; there are myriad health and safety regulations in place regarding correct procedures for lifting and storing items, handling hazardous materials and more. In the event that you as an employee suffer an injury at your workplace, caused by failure on your employer’s part to provide a safe working environment, you may be eligible to put in a personal injury claim and collect civil compensation for your injury.
Statutory Sick Pay
In the event that you fall ill and are unable to attend work for four or more consecutive days, as a full-time employee you are entitled to £96.35 per week in the form of Statutory Sick Pay or SSP. SSP is available in full for up to 28 weeks, and cannot be garnished by your employer. If you are frequently ill, and your bouts of absence occur less than 8 weeks apart, they may be ‘linked’; linked absences for more than three years can lead to ineligibility for SSP.
Discrimination and Harassment
Issues of discrimination and harassment are taken extremely seriously with regard to employment law, and employees have robust rights in the event that they are unfortunate enough to suffer either at work. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on a number of categories and classes, including age, disability, ethnicity and pregnancy. Likewise, bullying and sexual harassment are matters taken seriously by any business’ HR department, and employees suffering harassment are protected under the 2010 Equality Act.