Employment Rights

An overview of UK statutory rights

Employment Rights

Starting your new job is always an exciting time. Before you do, you should should be aware that there are certain minimum rights that are granted by the government. These are included in statutory laws, so they are called 'statutory rights'.

Employment status

The first step is to check your employment status, as the full set of statutory rights only applies to employees and not to workers, freelancers or those self-employed. If you're working for a company under an employment contract, you're most likely an employee.

Once you have established that you are an employee, you should be aware of your statutory rights to ensure you're being treated fairly by your new employer. In fact, both employers and employees should know their rights and responsibilities to better understand what each party is entitled to.

Basic rights

Some of the most important statutory rights include:

  • A 'written statement of employment' within two months of starting employment.
  • Payment equal to or above the National Minimum Wage. 
  • Paid holidays, sick leave, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
  • Rest breaks at work.
  • No more than 48 hours of work average on per week (or to opt out of this right if you choose to).
  • Protection against unlawful deductions from wages.

For more information and detailed figures on each of these, you can check this guide to UK payroll and employment laws .

Contractual rights & Statutory rights

The 'written statement of employment' sets out basic information and some contractual rights that can overlap with your statutory rights. It must include the name of your employer and yourself, job title, salary and payment schedule, working hours, where the job is based and your holiday entitlement. Additionally, it sets out other details such as the notice period to quit the job, and whether you can join the employer's occupational pension scheme, if there is one.

It's important to note that the terms set out in the 'written statement of employment' may grant you additional rights beyond the statutory minimums. However, an employer cannot offer fewer or worse contractual rights than those granted by the government. Your employer won't be able to restrict your statutory rights and you'll have a legal right to, for example, get 28 days of paid leave per year.

Further reading

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