Know your rights at work

Photo by Adi Wahid

Everyone within the workplace is protected by the law and enjoys a number of rights to ensure that they can get fair treatment from their employer. These rights will vary depending on the type of job you do, the employment contract you have with your employer and a variety of other factors. Your rights will depend both on what is stated in your contract and what is set down in law.

Your Statutory Privileges

As a worker you are entitled to certain legal rights and apart from some exceptions, all workers are entitled to the following rights:

  • You are entitled to be paid as a minimum the National Minimum Wage
  • Your employer must not deduct any amounts from your wage unless these are legal deductions
  • You should receive a payslip which clearly outlines your pay and any amounts deducted
  • Within 2 months of starting employment, your employer is obliged to provide you with written details outlining the conditions of your employment
  • You are entitled to vacation leave as well as other leave such as maternity, paternity and adoption leave
  • You are entitled to unpaid time off to study if you are aged 16 – 17, for trade union activities, and to take care of dependents if there is an emergency and as long as this time off is regarded as reasonable
  • You are entitled to breaks throughout the day and also on a weekly basis and as a general rule, you cannot be obliged to work longer than a 48 hour week
  • Discrimination at the workplace is not allowable
  • If you become a “whistleblower” you are protected from dismissal or unfair treatment
  • You are entitled to notice before dismissal if you have been employed with an employer for more than a month
  • Dismissal during pregnancy or during maternity leave is not allowed and a justified explanation in writing must be given
  • You are entitled to representation by a trade union representative during any disciplinary hearing
  • Part time workers are entitled to the same rights as full-time workers; such rights will be computed proportionally
  • If are employed on a fixed-term contract, you are entitled to the same rights as another employee in a comparable role who is on an indefinite contract
  • After being employed with an employer for a minimum of 26 weeks you are entitled to ask your employer for a flexible working arrangement
  • After being employed for at least one year, you will be entitled to the following additional rights:
    • You are entitled to unpaid parental leave
    • If you have been in your job since before 6th April 2012, you can request a written explanation if you are dismissed and are entitled for compensation if you are dismissed unfairly
  • If you have been working with your employer for more than two years, you are also entitled to further additional rights:
    • If you are being made redundant, you are entitled to take time off to look for another job
    • You are entitled to redundancy payments if you are being made redundant.

Contractual rights

Your contract of employment may set down certain rights that are additional to those established by law and your employer is also obliged to abide by these clauses.