The vast majority of UK employers aim to treat their staff as fairly as possible but there are regular examples as well of workers who need to know what their rights are so that they can address an issue at work that is clearly wrong.

There are always going to be employers who fall foul of UK employment laws and this is why specialist firms like are sometimes called into action to put matters right and seek compensation.

But if you acquire some basic knowledge of your rights as a worker, this might help you to resolve an issue with your employer, without the need to take it any further

Getting the money right

There are laws in the UK that stipulate workers should be paid what is referred to as a minimum wage.
The National Minimum Wage is an entitlement for most categories of workers including people who work part-time, agency workers, disabled workers and including casual labourers who may only work several days at a time.

The amount you are entitled is dependent on your current age. If you are over the age of 21, you should be earning at least £6.50 per hour and those just starting out in work and are aged between 16 and 17 should be paid at least £3.79 per hour.

Check the rates according to your age in order to ensure that you are being paid at least the National Minimum Wage for your work.

Hours of work

Work 4 (PD)There is also often confusion about how many hours you are expected to work each week.

UK employment laws include what are referred to as Working Time Regulations, and these cover the basic rights and protection from exploitation that you have as a full-time employee in the UK.

These regulations stipulate that you should not be required to work more than 48 hours per week unless you voluntary opt-out of the limit without feeling pressured to do so.

You should also be able to have at least 11 hours of rest between working days and if you work more than six hours in one shift, the regulations entitle you to take at least one 20-minute break during this period.

You will find that there are certain notable exceptions to these basic rules, such as if you work for the emergency services, but the basic principle of these regulations is that every UK worker should be able to achieve at least 90 hours of rest between work each week.


A common cause of dispute is sick leave and needing to take time off work for a period of time due to illness.

If you do need to take time off work due to sickness, you are required to provide proof of illness to your employer if the absence is for 7 days or more. This is normally done by getting a certificate from your doctor to verify that you have been ill and how long you need to be off work.

Statutory sick pay is a currently at £86.70 per week for up to 28 weeks although your employer may offer you more under their contract of employment, but can’t offer you less than this sum.

Knowing your basic employment rights will help you to ensure that you get paid fairly and treated fairly by your employer.

By Louise Lipscomb

Louise has held several management positions relating to employment law insights and policy implementation. She is always pleased to share her experience and insights online. You can find her thoughts and insights on a number of B2B websites.

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