Employee Rights

Employees have many rights within the workplace including the right not to be discriminated against and the right to be fairly dismissed.

Sickness

 Employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are off sick for four days or more in a row (including non-working days). Staff should be interviewed on their return to work and asked to complete a Self-certification form if they have been off work for less than seven days. Where staff are off work for seven days or more they are required to provide a doctor’s certificate on a weekly basis.

Maternity leave

Pregnant employees have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave. 39 weeks could be paid which may be statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or contractual maternity pay (contractual pay may be more than statutory pay or could be paid for longer than 39 week – this will depend on the terms of employment).

During maternity leave employee and employer can agree to have up to 10 keep in touch days. Employees are also entitled to paid reasonable time off for antenatal care.

Employees have the right to return to their original job or a suitable alternative.

Your HR Partner can provide bespoke maternity policies for inclusion within Staff Handbooks.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

Paternity leave

Paternity leave is available to employees who:

  • have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing
  • are the biological father of the child or the mother’s husband or partner (including same sex relationships)
  • have worked continuously for their employer for 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the baby is due or the end of the week in which the child’s adopter is notified of being matched with the child
  • give the correct notice.

Those who are eligible can choose to take either one week or two consecutive weeks’ paid paternity leave (not odd days).

Additional paternity leave and pay will no longer be available for babies due after 5 April 2015.

Additional paternity leave allows employees who are eligible to take up to 26 weeks leave to care for their new baby.

Additional paternity leave and pay may be available if:

  • you are the father of a child, partner or civil partner
  • you and your partner receive notification that you are matched with a child for adoption
  • your wife, partner or civil partner is adopting a child from overseas and the child enters Great Britain
  • the child’s mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave, maternity pay or allowance or statutory adoption leave or pay.

Additional paternity leave is for a maximum of 26 weeks. Leave can be taken any time from 20 weeks after the child is born, but it must have finished by the child’s first birthday. In the case of adoption it can start anytime between 20 weeks and 52 weeks after the child starts living with the adopter.

Your HR Partner can provide bespoke paternity leave policies for inclusion within Staff Handbooks.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

Shared Parental leave

Shared Parental leave will apply for babies born on or after 5 April 2015:

Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.

If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, with her partner or the child’s father, opt for Shared Parental Leave instead of Maternity Leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements, they will need to decide how they want to divide their Shared Parental Leave and Pay entitlement.

Paid Paternity Leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and a mother’s or adopter’s partner, however Additional Paternity Leave will be removed (Shared Parental Leave will replace it).

Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to Shared Parental leave and pay.

Your HR Partner can provide bespoke Shared Parental leave policies for inclusion within Staff Handbooks.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

Parental leave

Parental leave is for employees to take time off work to look after a child’s welfare, this leave is normally unpaid. At present this leave can be taken up to the child’s fifth birthday, however, in April 2015 the age limit will increase to under 18 years.

Parental Leave should not be confused with [Shared Parental Leave] which is a new entitlement coming into force from 1 December 2014 for eligible parents of children due to be born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015.

  • Employees must have completed one year’s service with an employer to qualify.
  • 18 weeks of unpaid leave can be taken up to the child’s fifth birthday.
  • Leave may be taken straight after the birth or adoption or following a period of maternity leave.
  • Employees will need to request leave giving at least 21 days notice before the intended start date.
  • Employers may ask for the notice to be in writing.

Your HR Partner can provide bespoke Parental leave policies for inclusion within Staff Handbooks.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

 Flexible working

From 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service.

(Before 30 June 2014, the right only applies to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.)

Key points

  • Requests should be in writing stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application
  • Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the request
  • Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request
  • Employees can only make one request in any 12 month period

Your HR Partner can provide bespoke Flexible working policies for inclusion within Staff Handbooks.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

 Notice

An employment contract can be terminated at any time by either party, it could be a resignation or dismissal, redundancy or retirement. For a notice to be effective it should be in writing and specify the date of termination.

  • Both the employee and employer are normally entitled to a minimum period of notice on termination of employment.
  • Notice periods should be one of the main terms and conditions of employment and included in the employee’s written statement.
  • It’s always best to write out any form of notice to make it clear it is the termination of employment.
  • In most cases employees should be paid their normal pay during the notice period.
  • Normal notice applies when employment is being terminated due to redundancy.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

Retirement

Unless it can be objectively justified it is no longer permissible to dismiss someone on the grounds of retirement. Older workers can voluntarily retire at a time they choose and draw any occupational pension they are entitled to. Employers cannot force employees to retire or set a retirement age unless it can be objectively justified.

Whatever the age of an employee, discussing their future aims and aspirations can help an employer to identify their training or development needs and provide an opportunity to discuss their future work requirements. For all employees these discussions may involve the question of where they see themselves in the next few years and how they view their contribution to the organisation. A useful exercise is to ask open question regarding an employee’s aims and plans for the short, medium and long term. Some employers may find it useful to hold these discussions as part of their formal appraisal process.

Your HR Partner can assist with discussions regarding the performance of all employees and how these can be managed.

The outcome of any workplace discussions should be recorded and held for as long as there is a business need for doing so. It would be good practice to give a copy to the employee.

For more information see www.acas.org.uk

Redundancy

 Organisational structures evolve over time and sometimes restructuring results in proposed redundancies. Making redundancies should be managed with care in order to treat staff fairly and reasonably and also to take account of their Employment rights:

Staff with over two years service have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. They are also entitled to a statutory redundancy payment on being made redundant.

All staff have the right not to be discriminated against, e.g. on the grounds of their sex, age, religion, race etc.

Should your organisation need to make redundancies please contact Susie Kaye via Susie@yourhrpartner.co.uk.


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