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What is The Employment Law?
The employment law in the United Kingdom is considered to be highly complex. Although individuals may be classified to be consultants and self-employed, individuals are generally treated as employees in the eyes of the law, which entitles them to certain rights.
Numerous factors need to be considered to ensure that your business is complying with all applicable laws and fulfilling its prescribed responsibilities.
Contract of Employment
Employees must be issued a written employment agreement, outlining their duties and responsibilities either as a comprehensive legal agreement or a regular printed form. Non-EU employees must possess a special work permit allowing them to seek employment within the UK.
All fixed-term and part-time employees are to be treated at par with permanent or full-time employees.
After working for 12 weeks, agency employees are entitled to the same employment and working conditions as the employees that were recruited directly.
Statutory sick compensation schemes require employers to provide a minimum sick pay for a period lasting up to a maximum of 28 weeks. However, the compensation may be recouped from the government by the companies as well.
All workers are legally entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of holiday leave every year. Companies are not obligated to provide public holidays to employees.
Employees have statutory rights against unfair dismissal, provided they’ve completed at least 2 years of continuous service in a company. This qualifying period is not applicable in certain prescribed situations.
To defend themselves against such claims, employers are required to prove that there were legitimate grounds for the dismissal and that all procedures were duly complied with during the termination of the employees.
Employees who win the claim are entitled to receive compensation, which consists of two components – compensatory and basic awards. The former compensates employees for the loss of benefits or earnings and is capped at the lower of 52 weeks of pay or £80,541. The latter is calculated using various factors like employment period, age, and gross weekly salary and is capped at around £14,670.
Employees who are terminated due to redundancy issues are entitled to compensation, provided they’ve completed at least 2 years of continuous services. Redundancy arises when there’s a –
Need to trim the workforce
The workplace has been shut down
The business has been closed
Caregivers and parents of children are entitled to numerous rights like paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, and maternity leave.
Female workers can avail maternity leave lasting for 52 weeks, regardless of their previous employment period. The original employment contract remains in force, excluding the compensation-related terms. Employees who’ve worked for at least 26 weeks continuously for the same employers are entitled to statutory maternity compensation, which is usually recouped by businesses from the Government.
Fathers who’ve worked for at least 26 weeks continuously are entitled to statutory paternity leave & compensation for 2 weeks.
Legislation regulating working hours & holidays
Employees may only be required to work for a maximum period of 48 hours per week unless they’ve revoked this right explicitly. Full-time workers enjoy paid holiday leave of at least 28 days annually and part-time employees are allowed an equivalent period on a pro-rata basis.
Minimum wage legislation
All employees over 25 are entitled to a minimum of £7.50 for every hour worked. Individuals between 21 – 24 are entitled to a minimum of £7.05. All employees between 18-20 are entitled to a minimum of £4.00 for every hour worked.
All employees and workers are entitled to protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, sex, religious beliefs, race, maternity or pregnancy, civil partnership and marriage, gender reassignment, disability, and age. Employers who take decisions related to termination, training, promotion, pay, etc. on these grounds may be subject to legal action. If the Tribunal deems discrimination to have taken place, the aggrieved employees are entitled to adequate compensation.
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