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Employment rights for new starters

12/12/12

Employment rights for new starters

New career starters: Your employment rights and what you should do if your rights are breached

In the current job market landing a decent job can feel like a long awaited victory, but in reality getting a foot in the door is really only the beginning of a new career. Whilst it is true that getting the job is perhaps the hardest part of recruitment, it may also be said that keeping a job can often be just as tricky. 

One of the most important areas of employment at the moment is that of employment law rights. They have hit the news in recent months, as the government looks at ways of implementing proposals made in a report by Adrian Beecroft, that suggested lots of ways that employment law rights could be curtailed to help businesses and boost economic growth. 

In this climate it has become more important than ever for new employees to know their basic employment law rights, to ensure that they are not taken advantage of. 

Basic rights 

All employees acquire basic employment law rights when they start work. These rights include the right to a written statement of employment terms and conditions within two months of starting work, the right to a pay slip and the right to be paid the minimum wage. 

Other basic rights include the right not to work more than 48 hours per week, the right to regular breaks, the right to 28 days paid holiday per annum (for those working full time hours) and the right to be paid statutory sick pay. Everyone also has the right to work in a healthy and safe environment, which applies not only to physical safety, but also to mental well being and protection from bullying. 

When things go wrong 

As of April 6th 2012, any new employees have to work for two years before they can claim unfair dismissal against their employer. Unfair dismissal happens when you are dismissed either for an unfair reason, or in an unfair way (e.g. correct procedures are not followed). 

If you are dismissed unfairly before being employed for two years then you may still have a claim, although it must be for an automatically unfair reason. Dismissal is automatically unfair if it is due to age, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, ethnicity, or religious belief. 

If you have any other grievance at work, or feel your rights may be being infringed then you should consider raising a grievance at work. Before doing this you should take some legal advice, either from a free advice centre like the CAB, or from your employment law solicitor. It may be that you have the grounds for a claim at an Employment Tribunal, or that you need to negotiate with your employer to improve your circumstances. 

In any circumstances, you should not delay receiving advice, as some claims in law are time restricted. It can also help your case to show that you were proactive in seeking redress for your complaint, and wasted no time in addressing the matter. 

Nick Branch received his LLB in 2004 from UWE, he currently writes for Contact Law on a variety of employment law matters. To find out more on your employment rights or see more of Nick’s work, visit the Contact Law website.

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