Employment Law Obligations

Employment Law Obligations

Employment law obligations in summary

Below is a very quick summary of the main points of employment law. This section is intended for headline reading only and is obviously not intended to be a complete or authoritative guide to employment law obligations. See our A-Z for more detail on key topics and links to resources to help you deal with relevant issues, and also our short video on employment law basics.

Employers must….

…pay employees at least the national minimum wage

…deduct tax and national insurance in accordance with Revenue & Customs requirements.

…pay statutory sick pay for eligible employees & keep minimum records.

…provide an itemised pay statement and pay employees in full and at agreed frequencies.

…provide 5.6 weeks paid holidays for all workers, equating to 28 days for a ‘full time’ worker (working 5 days per week).

…pay men and women equally for equal work.

…pay 5 days ‘guarantee payments’ to employees in a 3 month period when work cannot be provided.

…not engage in or permit direct or indirect discrimination because of someone's actual or perceived sex, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment or for any other reason that may be deemed to be unlawful. The categories given here are as described in the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination could occur in recruitment as well as employment, and in some cases after employment has ended. In addition to defining perceptive discrimination (where someone is subject to detriment because of a belief that they have a protected characteristic, even if in reality they don't), the Act also defines 'associative' discrimination, i.e. subjecting someone to detriment because they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic. This could occur for example if an employee is harshly penalised for absences from work when those absences result from having to attend to a disabled child, i.e. the employee does not have the protected characteristic of disability, but someone they are associated with (the child) does.

…not directly or indirectly engage in or permit victimisation, sexual harassment or other harassment or bullying.

(Note that In some cases of discrimination, harassment, bullying & victimisation employers are also liable for the actions of their employees who engage in these activities, even when the employer is unaware of these actions. Employers could also be liable for the actions of customers and other third parties if they do not have adequate preventative measures in place, which could include a suitable and well communicated policy on discrimination, harassment, bullying & victimisation).

…not treat part time or fixed term workers less favourably than their full time equivalents.

…provide 2 weeks paid paternity leave to qualifying employees. The right to take up to 26 weeks' additional paternity leave has been abolished. Parents who have a child that is due on or after 5 April 2015, or adoptive parents who have a child who is placed for adoption on or after that date, may be eligible to take Shared Parental Leave.

…provide 52 weeks maternity LEAVE to female employees.

…provide 39 weeks maternity PAY to qualifying female employees (who have earned at least on average the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit prior to commencing maternity leave). The first 6 weeks of maternity pay must be paid at 90% of normal earnings, the remaining 33 weeks at the lower of the current statutory maternity rate (SMP) or 90% of normal earnings.

…provide 52 weeks adoption LEAVE to a male or female employee and 39 weeks adoption PAY plus a further 13 weeks additional leave unpaid. The first 6 weeks of adoption pay must be paid at 90% of normal earnings, the remainder at the lower of the current statutory adoption rate (SAP) or 90% of normal earnings.

…provide 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child up to 18 years old who have a years service.

…consider requests from all employees with appropriate service regarding working flexibly according to the best practice process.

…allow reasonable time off work for parents to attend to family emergencies where no alternative person is available to attend to the problem, and where time off is limited to that necessary to put alternative arrangements on place.

…allow workers to be accompanied by a fellow employee, or trade union official (paid or unpaid) during certain meetings e.g. disciplinary & grievance hearings if they request it.

…keep personal data and records in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, including allowing employees reasonable access to inspect any information relating to them held by their employer.

…provide reasonable time off work (and sometimes payment) for employees who undertake certain public and trade union duties, or to care for dependants under certain circumstances.

…ensure that Working Time Regulations are adhered to, including ensuring employees do not work more than 48 hours per week on average over a 17 week period (unless a ‘waiver’ has been signed) and daily and weekly rest periods are provided. There are special provisions for the treatment of night workers, young workers and children.

…not employ children of under 13 years of age, and only employ children over 13 and under 16 for certain hours and jobs and then only with appropriate risk assessments in place.

…comply with the acas codes for grievance, disciplinary and dismissal procedures when contemplating formal disciplinary action or dismissal or when dealing with a grievance, including allowing a hearing and an appeal hearing for each formal stage of the procedure.

…ensure employees are familiar with Company disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures and are clear on who is authorised to dismiss them, who they should write to appeal against disciplinary or dismissal action against them and to whom they should address a grievance. Refer to these in contracts of employment or in statements of written particulars and give employees a copy of the relevant procedure, particularly if they are to be invited to a hearing.

...not retire employees at any particular age unless the retirement age can be objectively justified and is equally applied. 'Objective justification' will be tested in the Courts over time.

…offer a pension scheme to all qualifying employees (all businesses should now have their staging dates for the commencement of auto enrolment unless they already have a qualifying pension scheme.)

…follow established consultation procedures when carrying redundancies, collective consultation of at least 30 days where 20+ redundancies are planned, 45 days where 100+ are planned.

…provide a healthy and safe working environment.

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