As an employer, it’s important that you keep track of your employees’ employment rights, so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
The law changes so frequently, so you might want to refresh your knowledge of some of the simple stuff.
1. National minimum wage
For over 21s, the current minimum wage stands at £6.50 an hour. For 18-20 year olds, this is slightly lower, at £5.13. Under 18s, the same rate is £3.79. And, for an apprentice, you can only expect to receive £2.73, under minimum wage. Any tips that are paid during work hours should be given on top of their wage, not taken out. Apprentices who have been working in that position for a year have the right to receive a minimum wage. Whenever it comes to paying your employees, they should have a slip, detailing the money made and paid.
2. Working hours
On average, you can’t expect an employee to work more than 48-hour weeks. If your employee is a young worker, this goes down to 40 hours a week. Some jobs allow for longer working hours, and are an exception to this rule. This includes some roles in the armed forces, emergency services, and those who work out at sea. If you want someone over the age of 21 to work longer hours than their rights dictate, you will need to receive a written agreement from them; you can’t force them into this. If you need more information on this, click here to consult an employment law solicitor.
3. Paid holiday
Every full-time employee has the right to 28 days of holiday every year, but bank holidays can be included in this. Part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rata rate. While on holiday, an employer needs to pay their employee the same rate that they’d be paid during a working day. An employer can require members of staff to take some of their holidays at a certain time, such as over the Christmas period. This should be discussed before you accept the job.
4. Maternity and paternity leave
Parents-to-be/parents have the right to paid maternity leave. Maternity leave can be taken when the employee has 11 weeks before the baby is due. Preferably, the employee should tell their employer in writing that they are expecting when they are 15 weeks before their due date, so the employer has some notice. Most female employees have the right to take up to around a year in maternity leave.
By law, female employees have to take at least a fortnight off after the baby is born, even if they decide not to take the full amount of time off offered. Factory employees need to take at least four weeks, due to the often physically challenging work environment. The first 26 weeks of maternal leave will mean you get to keep the same contractual rights as before, but you won’t be entitled to the same wage. Instead, you will probably receive statutory maternity pay. Find out more information here.