A-Z of Worker Help
This section is designed to provide links to official or otherwise reliable sources of information, help and support for workers.
A - Z of Worker Help
ACAS provide information on employment rights and work issues generally, together with a confidential helpline, here.
Agency Worker Regulations (AWR)
The AWR give agency workers the entitlement to the same or no less favourable treatment for basic employment and working conditions, if they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in a particular job.
To see ACAS's guidance on the Agency Worker Regulations, click here.
To see the GOV.UK guidance on AWR for recruiters, click here. Although it is aimed at recruiters, workers may find it helpful too.
From the day you start work you have a worker’s employment rights. You also have the same rights as your permanent colleagues to use any shared facilities and services provided by your employer. After 12 weeks in the job you qualify for the same rights as someone employed directly.
Click here for some guidance from JobsAware explaining the main things to be aware of if you are an agency worker, including if you are asked to work through an umbrella company or limited company.
Guidance and a factsheet looking at pay, tax and benefit issues if you are an agency worker can be found on the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group's (LITRG) website here.
You may be able to claim universal credit or state benefits while you are working, depending on your circumstances.
You should check your position using one of the benefits calculators set out on GOV.UK.
Advicelocal can help with benefits, work, money, housing problems and more on their website.
Bereavement Leave and Pay
Bereavement Leave is defined as time taken off from work following the death of a relative or friend. You should be able to take leave if you need time to grieve, however there is no legal right for this leave to be paid, unless you qualify for parental bereavement leave for which you can find information below.
Find guidance from ACAS about general time off for bereavement.
Guidance from GOV.UK on parental bereavement leave can be found here.
See information from GOV.UK on your rights while on leave.
This LITRG page, provides links to a range of financial calculators that workers may find useful, provided by other websites.
To understand about cash in hand working, see the LITRG website here (although the guidance is aimed at migrants, it applies more widely).
You can use the online form on GOV.UK here to make a complaint to an enforcement body.
If you are not sure whether to use the form or whether your complaint can be dealt with using this facility, you can contact JobsAware for guidance.
Construction industry work is often temporary and can involve long supply chains, agencies and umbrella companies.
If you work in the construction industry as a self-employed person, you will have CIS tax deducted at source from your wages – this does not mean that you are being treated as employed/have employment rights.
You can read more about the CIS tax regime on the LITRG website.
A contract is a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.
Find information from gov.uk on general employment contracts and conditions.
Find guidance from gov.uk on how your employer can change your employment contract.
Find information from gov.uk on Fixed Term contracts.
Find out about different types of contracts and employer responsibilities from gov.uk.
A disability is a physical or mental condition that can limit a person's abilities. It is against the law in the UK for an employer to discriminate against a person because of their disability.
Discrimination is the unfair treatment of a person because of who they are or characteristics they possess. It is against the law in the UK for an employer to discriminate against a person based on a number of 'protected characteristics'.
Find information from on gov.uk, on the different types of discrimination and your right not to be discriminated against in work.
Establishing your employment status is crucial for determining whether you should pay tax under PAYE and your eligibility for certain employment law rights.
You can read more about employment status in the JobsAware guidance here.
An Education worker is any worker whose job role impacts or influences the education of both young people and adults, including but not limited to, teachers, school administrators and school caterers.
Find information from gov.uk on safe working in education, childcare and children's social care.
There are three main labour market enforcement bodies – HMRC National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage (NMW/NLW), Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS).
Beyond these, other bodies play an important role too. These include the Health and Safety Executive - you can read more about Occupational Health and HMRC (tax) further into this A-Z
A first time worker is a worker who is taking on their first period of paid employment.
Visit the LITRG website for advice as a first time worker.
Fraud is defined as the deliberate use of deception or dishonesty to disadvantage or cause loss (usually financial) to another person or party.
HMRC have a tax evasion hotline, which can be used by workers to inform HMRC on the doubtful tax dealings of their hirers.
JobsAware defines the “UK Gig Economy” as the area of the Labour Market in the UK which does not involve permanently employed workers; including but not limited to temporary agency workers, self-employed contractors and those who work flexibly for an organisation which is not necessarily their employer.
Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority
The Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) regulates those who supply labour or use workers to provide services in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging. Its aim is to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. The website provides useful information on workers’ rights.
To make a complaint to the GLAA about an agency or umbrella company operating in their sector.
Gig Economy platform workers
Many people earn extra cash by using one of the many available online platforms to, for example, offer rides, run errands and make deliveries.
For some guidance on your tax and employment law status if you work in this way, including on registering for self-assessment, see LITRG's website.
Note, most platform workers are currently treated as self-employed for both tax and employment law purposes, however there have recently been a few cases that have found some platform workers were ‘workers’ rather than ‘self-employed’ for employment law purposes because the control that they were under by the platform meant they weren’t in business on their own account.
The UK government website can be found here. It brings together public information in one place. It covers the whole of the UK, although you may find NI Direct (www.nidirect.gov.uk) useful if you live in Northern Ireland;
Holiday Leave and Pay (including Bank Holidays)
Holiday leave (also known as annual leave) is paid time taken off work, that in the UK a majority of workers are entitled to (more information below).
You can calculate your holiday entitlement on gov.uk.
You can find information on Bank Holidays on gov.uk.
A Healthcare Worker is any worker whose job role impacts or influences the health or care of any person, including but not limited to, nurses, doctors, social workers and pharmacists.
If you have concerns about a care provider please report these to the Care Quality Commission.
You can find information on pay, tax and benefit issues that face care workers on the LITRG website.
Income Tax and National Insurance
Income Tax is a form of tax that most workers pay on their income, to the Government. National Insurance is a system of compulsory payments made by both employees and employers to provide state assistance to those who are sick, unemployed or retired.
You can get advice from LITRG if you think you have paid too much Income Tax.
A job advertisement is an announcement made via the newspaper, online etc. about a job role that workers can apply for. Also known as a job advert or a job ad.
See here advice from the UK Government on advertising a job
As part of our Partnership structure with job boards and online platforms, we provide a best practice that job advertisers should follow when advertising jobs online, and your rights as a worker.
Know Your Employer
Know Your Employer is about doing research and due diligence into a potential employer, much like they might do to you through interviews and document checks etc. Here are some basic tips to knowing your employer:
- Do research on the company online - look at their website as well as on websites like Glassdoor here. for company reviews, if applicable
- Check that the company is registered with Companies House here.
- Search media sources such as news articles for previous press releases about the company
Limited Companies (working via) and Intermediaries
A Limited Company is a form of business which is legally separate from its owners and managers and is incorporated at Companies House in the UK.
There is guidance from the UK Government on Contractor Tax Loan Schemes.
You can find guidance from gov.uk on your employment status if you are working for or on behalf of an employment intermediary.
The UK Government provides guidance on travel expenses if you work for or on behalf of an employment intermediary.
Find here guidance from the UK Government on running a Limited Company.
Find here guidance from the UK Government on the IR35 legislation and whether it applies to you.
You can find guidance from the UK Government on the changes to 'off-payroll working' for intermediaries.
Maternity and Paternity rights
Maternity and Paternity rights are the rights, specifically around the workplace, of mothers and fathers who are due to have or have had a child or children.
Here is guidance from the UK Government about Maternity Leave Pay.
Here is guidance from the UK Government about Paternity Leave Pay.
Find guidance on gov.uk on your rights when working whilst pregnant.
Find news from the UK Government about Shared Parental Leave.
Migrant workers in the UK are workers who come from outside of the UK to work within the UK.
if you have an illegal working issue in the UK please report this via the Home Office.
If you are a migrant worker in the UK who would like some information on their taxes, please see advice from LITRG.
Modern slavery is defined as the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation.
Find information from the UK Government on modern slavery.
If you believe you are victim to, or have witnessed, modern slavery please report it via the Modern Slavery Helpline or via JobsAware.
Notice periods for assignments
A notice period is the amount of time an employee has to give their company before leaving their job. It also applies when an employer gives a letter of dismissal or redundancy to an employee they should also provide them with a fair notice period before the employment ends.
Find guidance from the UK Government on your rights during redundancy.
Find advice from the UK Government about handing in your notice to your employer.
National Minimum Wage (NMW) and pay rates
NMW is the minimum pay per hour that almost all workers are entitled to, no matter the size or type of employer.
To determine the minimum rate of pay you should be paid at for your age, the current rates of pay are detailed below.
For free and confidential advice call the ACAS pay and work rights helpline.
The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) also provide support to individuals.
You can make a complaint to the UK Government about underpayment of minimum wage.
Occupational Health is a branch of medicine dealing with the prevention and treatment of job- or work-related injuries and illnesses.
Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system is a method of paying income tax and national insurance contributions. Your employer deducts tax and national insurance contributions from your wages or occupational pension before paying you your wages or pension.
You can find guidance from LITRG on how PAYE works.
Personal Tax Account
If you are a worker in the UK you can use the UK Government's Personal Tax Account service to check your records and manage your details with HMRC.
Access this service on the UK Government website.
Queries and questions (general)
If you have any HR employment related concerns please visit the ACAS website.
You can get support and advice through Citizens Advice.
If you have any queries and questions you can also contact JobsAware for guidance.
Recruitment Companies or Agencies
A recruitment company is a business which is paid to find suitable workers for other companies and organisations.
If you have a complaint against a recruitment company please visit the UK regulator, The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.
A rest break is an uninterrupted break taken during work. You might be entitled to rest breaks depending on the length of your working day, your age and the type of work you do.
Find guidance from the UK Government website on rest breaks.
Self-employed / Self-employment
Self-employment is defined as working for yourself either in a freelance capacity or as the owner of a business, rather than for a direct employer.
Are you employed, self-employed, both or neither? Find out from LITRG.
Find guidance from the UK Government on working for yourself.
Sick leave and pay
Sick leave is absence from work granted on the basis of illness or sickness.
Find information from the UK Government about taking sick leave.
Find information here from the UK Government about statutory sick pay which you might be entitled to.
A Trade Union is an organised association of workers in a trade, group of trades, or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.
Find your most suitable trade union on the TUC website.
Find information from the UK Government on joining a Trade Union.
Find information from the UK Government on solving workplace disputes.
Find information from the UK Government on industrial strike action.
An umbrella company is a company that employs agency contractors that work on temporary assignments, usually acting as an intermediary between the contractor and their recruitment agency.
See information from the UK Government on Umbrella Companies who offer to "increase your take home pay".
Worker voice is the means by which employees or workers can influence their employment organisation's decision making.
Trade Unions are a popular way of exercising worker voice, more information can be found via the TUC website or in section T of this A-Z.
Whistleblowing is a term used to describe when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing, typically but not limited to, wrongdoing witnessed whilst at work.
Find more information on whistleblowing from the UK Government website.
Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR)
The WTR is a statutory instrument in English, Welsh and Scottish labour law which imposes limits on workers' hours of work and entitles most workers to rest breaks, amongst other regulations. It is designed to protect workers from exploitation.
Find guidance from the UK Government on maximum weekly working hours.
Find guidance from the UK Government on night-time working hours.
Find guidance from the UK Government on rest breaks at work.
Find guidance from the UK Government on holiday entitlement rights.
Worker status, also known as employment status, is the status which determines your employment rights and the responsibilities of your employer. You can use JobsAware's basic guide to worker status to help understand what your status might be.
You can find information about employment status on the UK Government website.
Similar to our Know Your Employer point in section K, here you will find tips on what to check before agreeing to employment with a company. This is particularly around the contract and other documentation that you may be required to agree to.
- Ensure that you receive a contract, or similar written documentation, for any employment you undertake, even if it is zero-hours (see below)
- Check the clauses in this contract to ensure that your rights are represented, including rights to paid annual leave and sick leave
- Check the communications that you receive from potential employers to make sure they do not have spelling mistakes for example - it is a common feature of fake job adverts and companies to send unprofessional or misspelled communications
- Make sure if you are asked to apply for a DBS check, that the company asking you to complete your details and make payment is a Responsible Organisation with the DBS. You can find lots more information on having a criminal record check conducted safely on our criminal record checks page.
A right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. In this case, your rights are the legal entitlements you have around employment and work.
You can find guidance on the UK Government website about your pay and work rights.
Zero-hours and freelance
Zero-hours refers to a contract of employment which does not include a guarantee of regular work for the employee, who is paid only for the hours they work.
Find information from the UK Government around zero-hour contracts.