As we enter 2023 and begin the new year, there will be many of us that are preparing to start a new job. As exciting as this can be, it is important that new employees remain mindful of the rights they hold from day one of their employment. Rights within employment are not always obtained immediately with some rights (such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed) only accruing after some time has passed. With that in mind we have gathered 10 of the most important rights to be aware of:
- Right to a Written Statement of Particulars
Employees are entitled to a written statement of their particulars of employment by their first day of employment under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. An Employer will often provide these particulars within a Contract of Employment, as opposed to a separate document, and they should include, but are not limited to, details of the job title, the date the employment starts and any period of continuous employment, the rate of pay and intervals of payment, the hours of work and the holiday entitlement and pay.
- National Minimum Wage and Itemised Payslip
Employees are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage which is currently £9.50 per hour for those aged 23 and over. They also have the right to receive an itemised payslip listing their gross wages, deductions and net wages and if their pay varies depending on their hours, the payslip must also show the number of hours they have worked.
- Working Time Rights
Employees are afforded a number of rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998 from day one relating to working hours, rest breaks and holiday entitlements. Most importantly these include an entitlement to 5.6 weeks paid time off per year, at least a 20 minute rest break for working days longer than 6 hours, a minimum period of 11 hours uninterrupted rest between finishing their job and starting the next day and a minimum of 24 hours uninterrupted rest within each seven day period.
- Maternity & Paternity Leave
Employees are entitled to maternity leave up to 52 weeks and paternity leave up to 2 weeks from the first day of employment. Where eligible parents are sharing responsibility for a child they may even arrange for shared parental leave up to 50 weeks. However, it should be noted that the right to statutory maternity pay, is not a day one right and is subject to several criteria.
- Sick Pay
Employees who are paying National Insurance contributions are entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay, currently at £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks, after they have been off sick for 4 days in a row from the beginning of their employment.
- Protection from Unlawful Deduction from Wages
Employees are protected from deductions being made from their pay, with some exceptions such as for tax, unless their Employer has the contractual power to make a deduction or they have agreed to them in advance.
- Protection from Discrimination
Employees from day one are protected against discrimination, harassment and victimisation due to a relevant protected characteristic i.e. age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief under the Equality Act 2010.
- Data Protection
Employees have the right from day one to have their personal data dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. This means that their Employer must ensure their personal data is fairly and securely processed and not kept for longer than necessary.
- Health, Safety and Welfare at Work
Employees are entitled to protection under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which places a general duty on the Employer to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of those at work.
- Automatic Unfair Dismissal
Employees from day one have the right to claim automatic unfair dismissal when dismissed on a number of grounds which include reasons connected to pregnancy, family leave, acting as an employee or trade union representative, being a part-time or fixed-term employee and whistleblowing.