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10 Rights of Employees in the Workplace You Should Have

Are you an employee and working in an office or other premises?

If you are a worker, you spend a large portion of your valuable time at work every day. While working for employers, you are entitled to many benefits, according to UK employment law.

Employment law covers all rights and obligations in the employer-employee relationship. It ensures that your employer treats you fairly in the workplace. And it’ll make you aware that your employers are following all regulations regarding employment and anti-discrimination laws.

Maybe you don’t know that you are entitled to certain rights at work. But, having the knowledge of the rights allows you to have certain benefits in the workplace. Read this blog to learn every right you are entitled to at the workplace according to UK employment law.

Table of Contents

What is employment law?

To put it simply, “employment law is legislation that regulates employer-employee relationship”. It explains how an employer and employee must behave in a working environment.

In the UK, multiple laws outline and protect worker’s rights and employee’s rights. However, these laws can be quite complex for employee and employer to understand and put in place.

Therefore, sometimes many employers or employees ask for a list ‘list of employment laws. They use this list to follow or refer to when performing their day-to-day operation. However, it is impossible to compile all the employment laws in a list. This is because there are too many relevant laws in the UK.

For your benefit, we put together a list of employment laws in the UK.

Why does employment law exist?

Well, employment laws exist to protect employees and employers. In addition, it makes sure you are fairly paid by your employers. Also, it protects children from child labour. It improves and regulates relationships and interactions between employer and employee.

The employment laws protect workers suffering from unfavourable treatment in the workplace. Without these laws and regulations, workers can’t improve their situation. Thus, employment laws are extremely important for UK employees.

What does employment law cover?

Are you wondering what rights you are entitled to in the workplace?

The employment laws cover a wide range of issues relating to the work environment and processes. The following are some examples of what’s covered by employment law—including:

  • Equal pay
  • Age discrimination
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Parental leave
  • Disability
  • Employment contracts
  • Dismissal and employee grievances
  • Holiday pay
  • Minimum wage
  • Discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or sexuality
  • Redundancy
  • Working hours.

List of employment laws in the UK

Employment law written in a small board

The UK authorities have enacted some laws to ensure the rights of employees are met. In addition, they make sure that you are aware of your responsibilities towards employers.

Employers must consider these legislations on a daily, monthly, and annual basis. The aim of these laws is to ensure the safe and productive functioning of your organisation.

Employment laws are essential to every business. Failing to adhere to these laws may lead an employer to face an employment tribunal. Below are some essential pieces of employment law legislation.

Employment Rights Act 1996

This law is one of the most inclusive pieces of employment law legislation. Also, it is an update to older labour law. This act covers a wide range of topics, such as employment contracts, redundancy, family-friendly leave, and unfair dismissal.

National Minimum Wage Act 1998

This legislation set out the NWM for employees and workers across the UK. The government regularly reviews this law to keep the NMW in line with inflation. Thus, the minimum wage can change at any time. As an employer or employee, it’s vital for you to be aware of any updates to NMW.

Employment Relations Act 1999

This act establishes a number of rights at work for:

  • Trade union recognition,
  • Derecognition,
  • And industrial actions.

The Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999

UK labour statutory legislation governs employees’ rights for time off from work for maternity or paternity leave.

Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000

This UK labour law requires employers to provide employees on part-time contracts with equal treatment to the full-time staff who do the same jobs.

Agency Workers Regulations 2010

This legislation aims to prevent discrimination against any agency workers. For example, employers paying the correct amount, giving them the right amount of holiday days, and safe working conditions.

The Equality Act 2010 

This act prevents discrimination in the workplace and also in the recruitment process. It makes the law easier to understand and helps to strengthen the protection on some occasions. It determines the different ways in which it’s illegal to treat an employee.

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006

The purpose of the TUPE regulations is to ensure employee rights during a business transfer. The process of this regulation is very complex. However, it ensures that staffs receive fair treatment from their new employer.

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10 Rights of employees in the workplace

Employment law covers all the rights and obligations within the employer-employee relationship.  The employment law includes not only current employees but also former employees and job applicants. There are so many employment rights you are entitled to; you might be aware of them.

We put together a list of 10 employees right in the workplace you should know. Read on to know more about UK employment law!

1. Certain rights as a job applicant

2. Employment contract

3. Wage equality

4 No discrimination in the workplace

5. No sexual harassment in the workplace

6. Safe workplace environment

7. Medical and family leave

8. Stand up for themselves

9. Fixed-term and part-time right

10 Rest breaks and reasonable working hours

1. Certain rights as a job applicant

Do you know that you have employment rights even if you are not an employee of this organisation? You have a certain right before starting to work there. During the recruitment process, you have the right to be free from discrimination.

That means the potential employer has no right to discriminate against you based on age, gender, race, national origin or religion. For example, a prospective employer cannot ask you a certain family-related question during an interview.

2. Employment contract 

Employee contract

Employers do not always give employees contracts of employment when starting to work. However, they are not legally obligated to provide you with a contract when joining. Although, you should receive a written statement within the first two months. The basic details and the main terms and conditions of their employment should be clearly stated in the contract.

The contract should include the following:

  • Job title,
  • Expected working hours,
  • Monthly salary,
  • Paid holiday and sick leave entitlement,
  • Details of any applicable pension scheme,
  • The minimum notice period,
  • Disciplinary process,
  • And the procedure for reporting a grievance.

3. Wage equality

Employers are not required to pay the same salary to all employees. But according to NMW, employers should pay the same wages to the employees who perform similar tasks and have the same skillset. And the workplace environments should also be similar in circumstance.

Employees who worked more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay. The employer has to pay a time-and-a-half rate of pay for employees who work additional hours. However, salaried employees are not eligible for their overtime work.

4. No discrimination in the workplace

Employers or HR can not discriminate against employees in the workplace. This applies to all forms of discrimination, including:

  • Gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Race, ethnicity or national origin
  • Age
  • Disability 
  • Immigrant Status.

5. No sexual harassment in the workplace

4 male backbiting a female

Any kind of sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and may result in prosecution. The UK labour law protects employees against this in the workplace.

It is sexual harassment if you are forced to participate in sexual favours for job security or receive a promotion. Additionally, being subjected to extremely pervasive comments in the workplace is also sexual harassment.

6. Safe workplace environment

The workplace environment should be safe and has no health and safety hazards. So, the employer should make their workplace safe and free from any potential hazard for their employees.

According to the Health and safety laws, employers have a statutory duty to take care of their employee’s health and safety in the workplace. The employer should provide a clean environment for working by providing employees with:

  • First aid equipment,
  • Protective clothing (such as PPE when needed),
  • Drinking water and washing facilities,
  • And ensure all the machinery is safe to use.

If an employer fails to provide a safe working environment, you can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is one of the best ways to bring hazardous situations in a non-threatening manner in front of authorities and employers.

7. Medical and family leave

Family and medical leave Act

According to the labour law, employees can take leaves from work after a certain period of working with the organisation. An employee must have worked for a year or at least 1,250 hours for the same employer. And also the employer also has 50 or more employees. You can take time off for:

  • Caring for an extremely ill family member.
  • Birth of a baby.
  • Adopting a child.
  • Recovering from an illness you have etc.

UK labour law allows an employee to have 12 weeks of unpaid leave while their job is secure. Female employees can take time off for antenatal care and can take 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave. Male employees can take 1-2 weeks paternity leave when the baby is due or born.

If you are adopting a child, you are entitled to 6 months paid leave and 6 months unpaid leave. However, if your partner works in the same company, he/she is entitled to paternity leave.

If an employee is pregnant or on maternity leave and receives a dismissal notice, this notice must contain a written explanation of the reason.

You have the right to submit a request for flexible working hours after 26 weeks of working for an employer. But you can only make one request to work flexibly per year.

8. Stand up for themselves

If you feel your rights are being violated in the workplace, you have the right to be free to stand up for yourself. You can respectfully express yourself to the employer about the injustice.

When employees file a claim against their employer for violating one of their rights, there should be no employer retaliation. The rights of being free from retaliation are also known as “whistle-blower” rights.

If you feel that there would be a punishment or retaliation, you can talk to other agencies. Agencies like OSHA and other government entities are perfect for standing up for employees who are experiencing any type of violation of rights in the workplace.

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9.  Fixed-term and part-time right

Employees working in the same role should have the same contract rights whether they are permanent or part-time. However, entitlements to holidays and similar rights for part-time workers may be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

The working hours of part-time and permanent workers would vary from one company to another. Thus, it is impossible to calculate specific working hours that distinguish a part-time worker from a full-time worker.

10. Rest breaks and reasonable working hours

2 plates and a bowl full of fast food

Health and safety laws state that employees have a right to daily and weekly rest breaks. If the working day exceeds 6 hours, employees are entitled to have a 20 minutes rest period to eat or hydrate. Employees are also entitled to at least one full day-off of every seven days.

Employers cannot force an employee to work more than 48 hours a week. If they ask for it, there should be additional pay and there should be a contract stating the terms.  


UK employment law covers all rights and obligations in the employer-employee relationship. It is very important for an employee to be treated fairly in the workplace by their employer. It allows employees to have a positive and enriching environment that promotes career development and productive work. So, UK employment laws are important. Also, having the knowledge of the rights will enable you to have certain benefits in the workplace.

Be Prepared and Safe!

Not satisfied with the above information? Want to know more about UK employment law? We, One Education, provide an online course on UK employment law. Enrol and learn more from the course at your own pace.

UK Employment Law
This UK Employment Law course includes the latest information on the employment laws in this country and teaches you how to address employment law issues at work.
UK Employment Law
This UK Employment Law course includes the latest information on the employment laws in this country and teaches you how to address employment law issues at work.
September 8, 2021

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