Employment and you: what the law says

 

Until you win the lottery and are able to retire to a Caribbean beach with your winnings, you have to have a livelihood. As well as being the way to put bread on the table, your job has a huge bearing on who you are. After all, it is where you spend the majority of your time.

Hopefully, this time is enjoyable and your job can help you learn new skills, travel, make life-long friends and evolve as a person. This is why finding the right job is so important.

As your job is so important, it needs to be governed by law. Employment law is there to protect you, the employee, as well as your employer. It is there to safeguard your interests, to make sure that you are not exploited or badly treated and to give everyone a fair and equal standing.

In certain circumstances, problems at work can be sorted out with a quick chat. However, some things require legal intervention. The employment law team at the Co-Operative only represent employees, not employers, to help you resolve any escalated conflicts or disagreements.

Fees are fixed so that if you are temporarily out of work and need to budget carefully, you can do so. This will also help you to avoid particularly large fees and will protect you from an employer or large company who may be able to use their financial muscle to drag out any proceedings.

What the law says:

Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a general understanding of the situation before you involved other parties and this is especially the case with employment law.

The law has strict rules and guidelines that apply to numerous situations in the workplace, ranging from matters concerning holiday pay and entitlement, maternity and paternity leave, bereavement pay, sexual harassment, discrimination in the workplace and even unfair dismissal.

These issues could have a huge bearing on your working life, and should not be taken lightly. If you want to get a rough idea of just what they can mean for you, here are some of the government’s rules which apply to the workplace:

  • From 01 October 2013, the national minimum wage will be £3.68, £5.03 and £6.31 for those aged under 18, 18-20, and 21 and over respectively.
  • Most workers are legally entitled to statutory leave entitlement (annual leave) equivalent to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can amount to £86.70 a week and be paid by your employer for a maximum of 28 weeks if you’re unable to work due to illness (and providing you meet certain criteria).
  • Pregnant workers are entitled to time off for antenatal care (paid), maternity leave and maternity pay, and protection against any form of discrimination, dismissal or unfair treatment associated with their condition.