Your Rights as an Employee
As an employee in the UK, you have specific rights which are protected by law:
- Written Statement of Employment Particulars: You have the right to receive a written statement of the main terms of your employment within two months of starting work. This is not your employment contract but will include many of the main terms of your employment.
- Pay: You have the right to receive at least the National Minimum Wage, and a payslip detailing your pay and deductions.
- Working Hours: The Working Time Regulations protect your rights regarding the number of hours you can be required to work, breaks, and holidays.
- Discrimination: You are protected against discrimination related to gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment.
- Health and Safety: Your employer has a legal duty to ensure your health, safety, and welfare at work.
- Privacy: You have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace, including the right to keep your personal life private.
What Should an Employment Contract Contain as Standard?
The employment contract is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer. While each employment contract will differ based on the job role and company, there are certain elements that should always be included:
- Job Information: Your job title or a brief job description.
- Pay Details: This will include your salary or wage, any bonuses, and pay frequency (weekly, monthly, etc.).
- Working Hours: The contract should detail your regular working hours, overtime expectations, and break allowances.
- Holiday Entitlement: This should include the number of days you’re entitled to, and how holidays are to be booked.
- Location of Work: The contract should specify your normal place of work and any potential for relocation.
- Sickness Policy: Details of sick pay and notification procedure if you are unable to work.
- Notice Periods: The length of notice you must give if you wish to leave, or your employer wishes to terminate your contract.
- Grievance Procedure: The process you should follow if you wish to make a complaint.
- Disciplinary Procedure: The process your employer will follow if they wish to take disciplinary action against you.
How to Negotiate Your Employment Contract
Before signing your contract, you have the right to negotiate terms that you are not comfortable with. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Review the Contract Carefully: Take time to read and understand every part of your contract. Consult a legal advisor if needed.
- Identify Areas of Concern: Highlight the areas you’re uncomfortable with or that you think could be improved.
- Prepare Your Case: Gather data to support your points. This could be average salaries for similar roles, research on standard working hours, or industry standards for holiday entitlement.
- Arrange a Meeting: Request a meeting with your employer or HR department to discuss your concerns.
- Be Respectful and Professional: Make your points clearly and respectfully. Remember, negotiation is a two-way process, and the goal is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
- Seek Legal Advice: If you’re not able to reach an agreement, or if you feel your rights are being disregarded, it may be necessary to seek legal advice.
This guide is intended to give you a broad understanding of UK employment contracts. If you have specific concerns or queries, you should seek legal advice. Always remember that you have the right to understand and agree with the terms of your employment before you start work.