Workplace Advice

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Discover how to get the most out of your working life.

  • Your rights at work
  • Sickness
  • Holidays and holiday pay
  • Bank holidays
  • Health and safety regulations
  • Discrimination at work
  • Harassment in the workplace

Your rights at work

Your rights at work will depend on:-

  • Your statutory rights; Statutory rights are legal rights based on laws passed by Parliament and
  • Your contract of employment; the contract of employment is the agreement made between the employer and the employee. This could be in the form of a written agreement or what has been agreed verbally between them.

Your contract of employment cannot take away rights you have by law. So if, for example, you have a contract which states you are only entitled to two weeks' paid holiday per year when, by law, all full-time employees are entitled to 28 days' paid holiday per year, this part of your contract is void and does not apply. The right you have under law (to 28 days' holiday in this case) applies instead.
If your contract gives you greater rights than you have under law, for example, your contract gives you six weeks' paid holiday per year, then your contract applies.

There are special rules about the employment of children and young people.

For information about young people and their rights at work in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, see Young people and employment. In Scotland see, Young people: education and employment.

Sickness

Many employees will be entitled to statutory sick pay if they are off work due to sickness. In addition, some employees may receive occupational sick pay from their employer but this will depend on their contract of employment.
For more details about statutory sick pay, see Off work because of sickness. In England, Wales and Scotland, there is also a fact sheet called Sickness at work in Employment fact sheets.

Holidays and holiday pay

Nearly all workers are entitled by law to paid annual leave. Full-time workers are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks a leave year. If you work part-time, you're entitled to a pro rata amount. There are some workers who are not entitled to paid holiday.
For more information about holidays and holiday pay, see Holidays and holiday pay, and in England, Wales and Scotland, see Holidays and holiday pay in Employment fact sheets.

Bank holidays

Unless your contract of employment gives you bank holidays in addition to your statutory paid holiday, bank holidays are included when calculating your entitlement. So if, for example, you work full-time and you have eight days off in a year for bank holidays, you will be entitled to these eight days plus another 20 days of holiday.
For more information about the dates of bank holidays, see Bank and public holidays.

Health and safety regulations

Breaching health and safety regulations can result in heavy fines or even imprisonment. The Health and Safety Executive and the courts take a dim view of those who break the rules – even if it hasn’t led to any injury.
Regulations covering the workplace are designed to ensure that wherever possible, the likelihood of injury is minimised – and high fines are often meted out to serve as a deterrent to others.

Discrimination at work

Discrimination at work can occur in several ways but it basically means that one or more employees is/are being treated differently or less fairly than others and you are protected from that as an employee by law. There can also be instances of both direct and indirect discrimination.

Harassment in the workplace

 Harassment in the workplace can take many forms. It can cause serious psychological damage to the victim, can create a bad atmosphere amongst other staff and lower staff morale and, crucially, it’s illegal.