Know your employee rights!

An employee is protected under UK law. The questions and answers below cover some of your most common rights.

Want a holiday?

If you work full-time, you are entitled to take 5.6 weeks’ leave each year, including bank holidays and public holidays. If you work part-time, your entitlement is calculated pro rata.

Your employer should pay you at your usual rate while you are on holiday. They might require you to take leave at quiet times such as Christmas, or to avoid peak times.

You should give your employer notice in advance – at least twice the length of the holiday. If they refuse, they must give you notice at least the same length of the holiday.

Suffering illness or injury?

Your employer must let you take time off when you are sick or need to attend a medical appointment. Note that you will probably have to provide evidence – a ‘fit note’.

If you are off sick for more than three days, you may be entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay.

Expecting a baby?

Both parents are entitled to take time off.

Mums-to-be: Tell your employer at least 15 weeks before the baby is due. Your employer should change your work if necessary to protect you from risks such as lifting and carrying heavy loads, standing or sitting for long periods, and being exposed to toxic substances. (If that can’t be done, they should suspend you on full pay.) They should pay you throughout your maternity leave, maintain all your rights under your employment contract, and ensure your job is available if you choose to return.

Dads-to-be: If you want time off for the birth, you should tell your employer as soon as possible. (Note that they don’t have to pay you for this.) After the baby is born, you are entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave, plus unpaid leave. You can also ask for flexible working arrangements such as flexitime or annualised hours. (They must consider it but may not grant it).

 Are you being paid enough?

If you have an employment contract, you are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage. The government has accepted the following recommendations from October 2016:

Current level From April 2016 From October 2016 – April 2017 Increase
Adult rate (21+) NLW (25+) £7.20 £7.20 n/a
Adult Rate (21-24) £6.70 £6.95 3.7%
YDR (18-20) £5.30 £5.55 4.7%
16-17 Yr Old Rate £3.87 £4.00 3.4%
Apprentice Rate £3.30 £3.40 3%

You also have rights covering discrimination and harassment, whistleblowing, notice period, trade union membership and more.

For more information, please call us on 020 7113 4003 or send an email to and we will be happy to help. The initial telephone consultation is free.

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