Statutory employee rights: Part 1

 An excerpt from Lawpack's Employment Contracts Kit.

When your employees enter into an employment contract with you, they automatically become entitled to statutory rights (i.e. rights laid down by employment law) without any need for the
details of these rights to be written into the employment.  

A number of these statutory rights do depend upon the employee attaining a qualifying period of employment with your firm. 

Here's a summary of the statutory rights of employees so you can comply with employment law:

Employee Statutory Right #1: Non-discrimination 

You must not discriminate employees on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, race, marital status, disability, membership or non-membership of a trade union, religion or religious belief and age.

Employee Statutory Right #2: Itemised pay statements

You must issue an itemised pay statement to all employees at the time of payment. Contents must include: 

  • Gross earnings
  • Net pay
  • Fixed and variable deductions from gross earnings
  • The amount and method of payment (if the net pay is paid in different ways)

Employee Statutory Right #3: Equal pay for like work, or work rated as equivalent, or work of equal value

Employee Statutory Right #4: Maternity and adoption rights, and benefits

Female employees who are expecting a baby are entitled to time off for antenatal care, protection from dismissal and detrimental treatment, suspension from work on maternity grounds, the right to take maternity leave and return to work and statutory maternity pay (SMP). Employees (male or female) who adopt a child also have protection from dismissal and detrimental treatment, the right to take adoption leave and return to work and statutory adoption pay (SAP). 

See our Maternity, Paternity, Adoption & Parental Leave Policy.

Employee Statutory Right #5: Notice of termination of employment

The minimum notice periods for terminating employment are as follows:

By you:

Length of serviceMinimum notice period 
Less than 1 monthNil
1 month-2 years1 week
2-3 years2 weeks

and an additional week for each year of continuous employment to a maximum of 12 weeks.

By the employee: 1 week

Your employment contract can impose a duty to give a longer period of notice.

Employee Statutory Right #6: Guarantee pay

You must make ‘guarantee’ payments' to employees with at least one month’s service, when they could normally expect to work, but when no work is available. Periods when employees are laid off because there is no work available must be agreed in advance, to avoid you being in breach of contract.

An employee is entitled to a maximum guarantee payment per day for up to five days in any period of three months where they are laid off. Therefore, there is an annual maximum. 

Employee Statutory Right #7: Redundancy pay

Employees in a redundancy situation are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment if they have at least two years’ service. The calculation is made by considering the employee’s age, length of continuous service and gross average weekly wage. 

Find out more about calculating redundancy pay with our Employment Law Made Easy Guide.

Employee Statutory Right #8: Healthy and safe working environment 

You must provide your employees ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ with a safe place to work and access to the place of work, a safe system of work, adequate materials, competent fellow employees and protection from unnecessary risk of injury. If you employ more than five employees at any one time, you must prepare and bring to the notice of your employees a written statement of the firm's health and safety policy.

Find out more on meeting the health and safety guidelines in the workplace with our Health & Safety Legal Guide.

The Working Time Regulations provide for an average 48-hour working week; minimum breaks and 11 consecutive hours rest in any 24-hour period; 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday and an average 8 hours work in 24 hours for night workers. This means that employees are prevented from working any overtime that would result in their average working week exceeding 48 hours. However, the Regulations enable individual employees to ‘opt out’ and work in excess of this 48-hour limit; any Working Time Regulations Opt Out Agreement must be in writing.

Employee Statutory Right #9: Sickness benefit

Subject to satisfying certain conditions, all employees are entitled to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) when they are absent from work for four or more consecutive days, up to a limit of 28 weeks. Unless the employee has a contractual right to normal pay, statutory sick pay is all you're obliged to pay employees during sickness. 

Find out more about calculating statutory sick pay with our Employment Law Made Easy Guide.

Employee Statutory Right #10: Remuneration on suspension on medical grounds

An employee is entitled to be paid for up to 26 weeks if they are suspended on medical grounds in compliance with any regulation or law which concerns the health and safety of workers. An employee is only entitled to claim a medical suspension payment if they have been continuously employed for a period of one month. An employee employed for a fixed term of three months or less, or under a specific task contract which isn't expected to last for more than three months, isn't entitled to a medical suspension payment.

Read more on employee statutory rights #11-19 with our article The Statutory Rights of Employees: Part 2


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Published on: October 11, 2010

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