Would you know your rights at work if you suddenly found yourself in the throws of redundancy proceedings, discovered you were pregnant or quite simply thought you were working too many hours or travelling more than you thought you should be?
There have been some big changes to Employment Law this April, which every employee should be aware of, in order to know their statutory employment law rights at work.
Recent legal changes include:
In these times of economic instability it is a good idea to review or at least be aware of the terms and conditions of your employment contract, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Julie Edmonds, employment litigator at MTA Solicitors outlines the key issues and the pitfalls to look out for:
1. It is important to have a contract of employment so that you know on what basis you are working for your Employer/Company. If you have a contract it will be clear whether you are employed, a worker or self employed. This is important when it comes to knowing your rights and what you are entitled to. Ie:
2. Ideally you should always request and/or be given a written contract of employment if you are an employee. If it is not in writing however it will be created by conduct over time. You are entitled to be given a written contract in the first 2 months of employment after you have been employed for 1 month. So if you don’t have anything in writing after this time – don’t be afraid to ask for it. Having a contract in writing makes disputes with Employers less likely as it is clear from the start what both parties intend and agree to.
3. All contracts of employment have an implied term of mutual trust and confidence. This implies respect on both sides of the relationship and means that neither you nor your employer can act completely unreasonably. The ‘terms’ are the legal part of the contract.
4. Ideally the contract will be in writing so the terms are clear but they do not need to be written down to be terms. You must understand what is on your contract and what you are agreeing to at the start so you know what rights and obligations there are on both sides.
5. The principal statement of written employment particulars should include
name and employers name, job title, start date, if employment is not permanent, how long the contract is expected to last for, pay rate and details of pay day, hours of work, holiday entitlement, place of work, sick pay, notice periods, information re disciplinary and grievance procedures - which can refer to an employee handbook for full details so long as this is kept updated and pensions.
Finally, look out for flexibility clauses, especially those that are vaguely worded. Flexibility may be in relation to shift patterns or mobility clauses that can change your place of work. However, a flexibility clause that is too wide and just says that the employer can change your terms from time to time cannot be used to bring in completely unreasonable clauses.
All these aspects of a contract should be considered and understood so that you are in the best position should you get into any kind of dispute with your employer. MTA Solicitors provide expert Employment Law legal advice and services for both Employees and Employers from anywhere in England and Wales. There are offices based in Kent, London and Manchester.
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