This is your no-frills guide to your rights within the workplace. Whatever your employer may tell you, you are still entitled to the same amount of rest breaks as other staff. Your rights will, however, depend on your employment status. As a worker – you have a contract or arrangement to do work or services for money or a benefit in kind. You might be working under a casual, freelance or zero-hours contract. As an employee – you work under an employment contract. All employees are workers, but employees also have some additional rights.

Commencing employment
  • The do have the right to a written statement of terms of employment within two months of starting work.
  • Your employer must provide you with a payslip.
  • Your employer must explain any deductions fixed in amount either on a payslip or in a separate written statement.
  • A full-time worker usually works 35 hours or more a week.
  • A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker.
  • [You must not be treated less favourably if you work part-time.]
  • You do not need to work more than 48 hours in a week, under Health and Safety law (unless you freely choose to opt-out of the limit and give your employer confirmation of this in writing).
During shift
  • You are permitted at least 11 hours rest between working days.
  • You do have the right to either an uninterrupted 24 hours clear of work each week or 48 hours clear of work each fortnight.
  • You are entitled to a 20-minute rest break if you work more than six hours in one shift and additional breaks may be given by your contract of employment.
  • You do not have the right to smoke breaks.
  • You do not need to provide proof of illness until after seven days off sick.
  • [You can use your statutory holiday entitlement during your sickness.]
  • Your employer can not offer less than the weekly rate for Statutory Sick Pay of £88.45 for up to 28 weeks.
  • You must be provided with protection against unlawful discrimination.
  • You do have the right to time off for trade union duties and activities.
Longer-term employment
  • You do have the right to ask for flexible working if you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks.
  • You are entitled to 5.6 weeks (28 days if you work five days a week) paid leave per year.
  • Your employer is not obligated to give you public holidays off.
  • You must have protection for ‘whistleblowing’ so there are no negative consequences.
  • You have the right to notice of dismissal, provided you have worked for your employer for at least one calendar month.