Issues at work can cause people a great deal of anxiety and stress. Many people find themselves in situations where they feel unfairly treated in the workplace, but are unsure what their rights are and what action they should take.
Laura Franklin, employment solicitor with Beswicks Legal, has compiled her top three issues facing employees, along with tips on what you should do if you’re affected:
Unfair dismissal – your employer can dismiss you on notice without a hearing, warning, or giving any particular reason if you have worked for them for less than two years.
The only exceptions are if you are dismissed because of an automatically unfair reason such as you are having time off due to a disability, if you are dismissed for asserting a statutory right, such as requesting rest breaks during your shifts, or for requesting maternity leave.
Settlement agreements – (formerly known as compromise agreements), these are used to bring employment to an end on mutually agreed terms, often involving a payment of compensation by the employer, on the understanding that the employee won’t bring any claims against them.
The key thing to remember is that without independent advice the agreement will not be binding. Employers often pay for, or contribute to, the costs of your legal advice, so there may be no cost to you.
Also, if you believe you have a claim against your employer, think before you sign a settlement agreement, as there is no going back.
Holiday pay – almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ (full time) paid holiday each year, although an employer can include bank holidays as part of this statutory annual leave. Your employer cannot pay you for unused holiday until you leave the company. This protects against rogue employers who might not be allowing you to take your leave and thinks paying you for it is sufficient.
For casual workers or people who work irregular hours holiday entitlement is based on the actual number of hours worked. There’s a useful calculator available at www.gov.uk/calculate-your-holiday-entitlement