What are my rights?

Guidance for workers on the basics of what their rights may be, based on their employment status.

What are my rights?

Your Employment Status will determine your rights and the responsibilities of your employer regarding the following topics, which is not an exhaustive list:

  • National Minimum Wage
  • Working Time Regulations
  • Sick leave and pay
  • Rights when having a baby
  • Trade Union Membership
  • Discrimination
  • Holiday leave

Employees receive a full range of employment rights, although certain significant rights, e.g. unfair dismissal only apply after a minimum period of service.
Workers are entitled to fewer rights, although retain many of the most basic entitlements such as the right to the minimum wage, working time limits and annual leave.
Self-employed individuals generally receive no employment rights as they are in business for themselves (e.g. they are their own bosses and so can decide how much to pay themselves, how much holiday to take and so on).
Note that sick pay or parental pay are often thought of as ’employment law rights’. However, this is incorrect – they are tied to whether or not you pay tax under PAYE because they are administered, and part financed by a secondary contributor (someone who is liable to pay Employer National Insurance Contributions (NIC)).

Trade Unions

Trade Unions are member led organisations that look after workers’ interests.

Trade Unions negotiate agreements with employers on payment and working conditions, discuss situations that impact on workers (e.g. redundancy) and/or discuss members’ concerns with their employers. 

Trade Unions have a vital role to play in ensuring that workers are better informed and empowered in respect of their employment rights.

Trade Unions are key stakeholders and you, as a worker, are encouraged to report any suspected breaches of your employment rights through your applicable Trade Union as well as through the relevant regulator and via JobsAware

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents the majority of trade unions, provides a list of Trade Unions operating in different sectors, so you can find the right Trade Union for you.

What if I am unsure on my employment status, or I think I am being mistreated?

There is guidance on employment status on the GOV.UK and ACAS websites (ACAS is the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and offers workers and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice).
You can check your employment status for tax purposes using HMRC’s online service. This works by asking a series of questions, the answers of which should best match the usual working practices of the engagement. Please note that this tool should not be used to try and work out a status for employment law purposes – not least because it doesn’t cover ‘worker’ status.
Individuals can seek legal advice from a solicitor or employment law advisor if they are unsure on their employment status and/or believe that their employment rights have been breached. Many offer a free initial consultation.
Hopefully any issues you have can be resolved informally by talking with your engager, but if not, any disputes can be resolved by a court. For employment rights, a dispute is first heard at the employment tribunal – you can find more information on the gov.uk website

For tax purposes, HMRC also carries out enforcement activity to ensure correct employment status tax determinations are being reached by engagers.

If you think your rights have been breached you should take steps to report this. If you are not sure where to report this, please contact JobsAware.