Statement of Particulars of Employment
Employees are entitled to a written Statement of Particulars of Employment within eight weeks of their start date. This contains information about certain specific key terms of their employment.
Employees are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage, which is reviewed on an annual basis. From 1 October 2015, the adult rate will rise by 20 pence from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour.
Employees are also entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) if absent from work due to sickness or injury for up to 28 weeks (subject to certain qualifying conditions).
Working time and holidays
Working time and holidays are regulated under the Working Time Regulations 1998. In general, employees cannot be required to work for more than 48 hours per week (averaged over a 17-week period). Employees can agree to opt out of this restriction, but can always opt back in later. Senior employees and managers can use an exemption to the 48-hour maximum, under which they are deemed to manage their own time autonomously.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 working weeks’ holiday each year, which can include the eight UK public holidays. There is no obligation to grant these eight days on the same days as the public holidays, but it is common to do so.
Parental leave and pay
Subject to certain qualifying conditions, employees may have rights to maternity and paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and (for children born on or after 5 April 2015) shared parental leave and pay.
Female employees, irrespective of their length of service, can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, and may be entitled to maternity pay, depending on the level of their earnings and length of service.
All parents (that is, those that are responsible for a child) with one year’s service are entitled to up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave. From 5 April 2015, parental leave was extended to apply to all children up to the 18th birthday.
Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment can make a “flexible working request” to their employers. Employees can make only one request each year. Flexible working means any pattern of work outside the employer’s standard. There is a set procedure for the employer to consider the request and come to a decision. If the employer refuses the request, it must be able to base its decision on one or more of eight prescribed grounds.
Part-time employees must not be subjected to less favourable treatment than full-time employees due to their part-time status. Where possible, the benefits for full-time employees should be pro-rated for part-time employees.