Know your rights at work

The right to be told in writing how much and when we’ll get paid
The current Minimum Wage rates from April 2018 are:
  • 7.83 per hour for over 25
  • 7.38 per hour for 21 to 24 years
  • 5.90 per hour for 18 to 21 years
  • 4.20 per hour for under 18
  • 3.70 per hour for apprentice
The right to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid leave (holiday) per year
This amounts to 28 days for a normal working week. Job contracts should say what you get but if they don’t, then 28 days is the minimum (including public holidays) unless you’re part-time. For part-timers, multiply an average working week by 5.6. The rule applies to all jobs, no matter how casualised. It applies from the day we get a job.
The right to breaks of at least 20 minutes over six hours of work
We are allowed at least 11 hours’ rest in every 24 and a minimum of a day a week off or two per fornight. Rest breaks for under-18s are a minimum of 30 minutes every 4 1/2 hours.
The right to refuse to work more than 48 hours a week
We can’t be made to go beyond that unless we have agreed in writing. Note: This is worked out by averaging a17-week period, so we can be forced to do more in any single week.
The right to sick pay
We get statutory sick pay (where we’ve been off four days in a row) if we normally earn more than £116 per week before tax and we’ve been working for over three months (or are thought to have been in continuous employment for 13 weeks). You can get £92.05 per week. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
The right to maternity/paternity leave when we have children
Most mothers are allowed 39 weeks’ paid maternity leave plus 13 weeks’ unpaid leave. To get maternity pay we must earn over £116 per week and have been working continuously for more than 26 weeks by 15 weeks before the baby’s due date. For the first six weeks we should be paid 90% of average earnings, then a constant rate of £145.18 for 33 weeks. Or 90% of the average weekly earnings, whichever is the lowest. If we are not eligible for maternity pay we can then apply to get Maternity Allowance from the government. Fathers/male partners get two weeks’ paid paternity leave.
The right to be free from harassment
We should all work without racial or sexual harassment, bullying, prejudice or discrimination. Agency and part-time workers have the same rights as full-time workers.
The right to defend ourselves
We all have the right to protection from being sacked (fired, “let go”) for using our legal employment rights. We also have the right to join with our fellow workers and organise ourselves collectively, and to join a trade union.
The right to refuse work that is unsafe or where training is not given
We all have the right to refuse to work if we find ourselves fearful of danger. Agencies are not allowed to send us to jobs for which we are not qualified, and they must see that proper training is given.