Your rights as an employee

Employees in the UK are entitled to certain rights that are protected by law. These include matters like sick pay, protection from discrimination and the right to join a trade union.

As a permanent employee, your rights fall into two categories: statutory rights, which are your legal rights, and the rights detailed in your specific contract of employment.

Sometimes, your contract of employment might go against your statutory rights, in which case your statutory rights win out. For example, your contract of employment may state that you get one week’s paid holiday a year. Your statutory right is actually for 28 paid days’ leave per year if you are a full-time worker, so in that case you would be able to seek legal assistance and claim your full rights.

Your rights are designed to protect you and to ensure that you work in a safe environment – both physically and mentally. There are strict health and safety regulations in the workplace today. If your job involves heavy lifting, then this needs to be specified in your contract, and your employer must put adequate safety measures in place.

Similarly, employees have the right to be treated fairly and equally. If you think you are being discriminated against for your race, religion or sexuality, then you may be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal.

Rights also come into play when there is a dispute at work. If you have a problem with your employer, or you have any other questions regarding your rights, contact your company’s HR department or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.