Employer Rights and Responsibilities in the UK

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis

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28 Mar 2019

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All businesses operating within the UK must follow specific regulations put in place to protect their employees’ rights to fair treatment.

Employees and employers have rights and responsibilities towards each other. Employees must consider the health & safety of others and carry out their work accordingly.

As an employer, you’re responsible for making sure your business follows the relevant regulations for your industry. While they may vary depending on the type of job and the employment contract in place, the regulations form the basis for fair treatment in the workplace.

Your responsibilities extend to your staff’s pay, working hours, holiday entitlements, contracts and more.

To help you get all of that right, this guide serves as a guide for small business employer rights and responsibilities in the UK.

Statutory responsibilities and rights of employees and employers

As soon as a member of staff begins working in a particular company, they’re entitled to certain statutory rights.

These rights relate to health & safety, terms and conditions of employment, equal opportunities, pay and more. You must:

  • Pay employees at least the national minimum wage.
  • Provide staff with an itemised payslip (it should include a detailed breakdown of pay and deductions if any).
  • Provide employees with a clean and safe work environment (including first aid equipment, protective clothing, drinking water etc.).
  • Offer employees a daily rest period of at least 20 minutes if they work longer than six hours a day.
  • Keep to the 48-hour average working week (unless agreed upon by employer and employee and confirmed in writing).
  • Provide a certain amount of paid holiday each year (depending on employment type: full-time or part-time).
  • Give at least one-week of dismissal notice if an employee has been with your company for longer than one month but less than two years. And two weeks’ notice if employee has been with your company continuously for two years with an additional one week for every year after that.
  • Offer eligible workers statutory sick pay, statutory redundancy pay, statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

You can check out the Acas site for a complete list of your responsibilities to your employees.

Health & Safety responsibilities of employers

Under British law, you’re responsible for the health & safety of all staff members. That means protecting them from anything that could cause them harm.

Employers rights and responsibilities in the workplace includes:

  • Conducting risks assessments to identify and address all risks.
  • Controlling any risks to injury or health that may arise from risks assessment.
  • Providing information on these risks and how you’re protecting employees from it.
  • Instructing and train employees on how to deal with risks in your workplace.
  • Consulting with staff members on health & safety issues.

Responsibilities of employers: Discrimination

Under the Equality Act 2010, it’s against the law to discriminate against individuals because of any of the protected characteristics. This includes:

  • Gender reassignment.
  • Being married or in a civil partnership.
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave.
  • Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin,
  • Religion or belief.
  • Sexual orientation.

Employees that complain about, or support, another staff member with their discrimination claim are also protected from discrimination. 

Responsibilities of employers: Pay & Benefits

The Employment Rights Act 1996 addresses workers’ rights regarding pay and the protection of it. As well as providing a payslip that details calculations of payments and deductions, you should also provide:

  • Statutory payments.
  • Payment in Lieu.
  • Holiday pay.
  • Guarantee pay among others.

Deductions to consider include:

  • Income tax.
  • National insurance.
  • Pension (if applicable).
  • Student loan (if applicable).

Where to find information on employment rights and responsibilities

Acas and the HSE are reliable sources of information and advice on employment rights and responsibilities.

Where staff members believe you’re exposing them to risks or where they’ve complained about risks in the workplace without a satisfactory response, they can make a complaint to the HSE.

Expert advice

If you need more information on employer’s rights and responsibilities at work and conducting a risk assessment, speak to a Croner expert today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.

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