Don't lose sight of your employment rights
What are my basic Employment Rights?
There are many types of legislation in place to protect employee rights. These noble treatises have been hammered out over centuries, the unbounded power held by titans of industry and robber-barons fading with every blow struck by their downtrodden yet indefatigable workforce. In the past there were nowhere near as many protections available to employees, and they were frequently mistreated without the employers being held liable. In today’s society, there are many different angles from which employees can take their employer to tribunal if they are treated unfairly. The laws in place are there to ensure that every employer is treated equally, fairly and lawfully and, if not, that there are grounds available to take the employer to tribunal. The main statutory protections in place to protect employees are the following:
Health and Safety Acts
The Equal Pay Act 1970
The Race Relations Act 1976
Employment Rights Act 1996
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Protection From Harassment Act 1997
Employment Equality Regulations 2003
The aforementioned statutory rights are in place to protect employees across all areas of daily duties at work. I will now move on to look in more detail at which problems are likely to arise through the misconduct of unscrupulous employers, and the rights that employees have in each section.
Minimum wage employment rights
Employees have the right to be paid the national minimum wage. As this sum is already a pittance, any attempts by an employer to pay less than this will enable their employees to take legal action against them. Currently, the national minimum wage is £6.19 per hour.
Working time regulation employment rights
Employees have various rights regarding their working time. They have the right to work no more than a maximum 48 hour week, the right to compulsory rest breaks, and the right to paid annual leave, that they might recuperate from their otherwise unending toil.
Maternity employment rights
Employees have four main rights under the area of maternity. They have the right not to be fired due to becoming pregnant or requiring time off in order for a baby to form within the womb. They have the right to return to work after maternity leave, the right to maternity pay and the right to take time off for ante-natal care. If any of these rights are infringed by an employer, then the baby-toting individual is in their right to act against the employer.
Discrimination employment rights
Employees have the right not to be discriminated against. Discrimination based on gender, race, age, disability, religion, nationality or sexual orientation is strictly forbidden. Discrimination can occur in many forms from different working environments, different pay and different treatment. Any sort of discrimination should be reported and can be claimed against.
Health and safety employment rights
Employees also have many rights regarding health and safety. This includes being provided with all relevant health and safety information, training and protective items dependent on the work to be carried out. The levels of health and safety required will vary between jobs. There is a more substantial body of health and safety law which may be brought to bear on a building site as compared to an office space, yet employees in the latter must still be wary of errant staplers and wildly spinning chairs.
Right to an employment tribunal if any of the rights above are infringed upon.
If any employee feels that their employment rights have been breached in any way mentioned above, or in any other way they feel they shouldn’t have been, then they have the right to take their employer to an employment tribunal to attempt to claim and receive any compensation rightly owed to them.
Employees shouldn’t be subject to situations where their rights are infringed, but unfortunately the world is a harsh and unforgiving place for those seeking only to make a living. Far too often employers try to cut corners and try to avoid following all the necessary requirements when it comes to their employees. It is important for employees to know their rights and be able to hold their employer liable where they have failed to uphold the basic employee rights.