Workers

A worker is entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave in each year. No minimum period of continuous service is required to qualify. This entitlement is equivalent to 28 days leave for a classic five day full time working week arrangement.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 apply to most workers with some exemptions.

ACAS states that you are more likely to be classed as a worker if:

  • your work for the organisation is more casual, for example your work is less structured or not regular
  • you are employed to do the work yourself
  • you are not offered regular or guaranteed hours by your employer
  • you have very little obligation to make yourself available for work, but should do work you have agreed to and that workers could include:
    • casual workers
    • agency workers
    • freelance workers (however depending on your personal working pattern and circumstance you might be classed as a worker or self-employed)
    • zero-hours contract workers (however depending on your personal working pattern and circumstances you might classed as a worker or an employee).

ACAS goes on to say that you’re more likely to be classed as an employee if:

  • your employer, manager or supervisor is in charge of your workload and how your work should be done
  • you are required to work regularly unless you’re on leave
  • you can expect work to be consistently available
  • you cannot refuse to do the work
  • you are employed to do the work yourself.
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Funding

Discrimination

The Court of Appeal in Vento -v- Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2002] and Da’ Bell -v- National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children set down the following guidance. As at 6 April 2022 the Vento bands are:

  • a lower band of £990 to £9,900 (less serious cases);
  • a middle band of £9,900 to £29,600 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and.
  • an upper band of £29,600 to £49,300 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £49,300.

The Employment Tribunal can:

  • make a declaration as to the rights of the complainant and the respondent in relation to the matter to which the proceedings relate.
  • order the respondent to pay compensation to the complainant and make an appropriate recommendation. A recommendation could include ensuring that a policy is more effectively implemented, staff retraining or introducing an equal opportunities policy for example.

There is no qualifying period for employees (including workers) making a claim of discrimination.

The claim must be presented within three months of the act complained of or last in a series of continuing acts. The employment tribunal does have the power to extend this period if they consider it just and equitable to do so. To constitute a continual act, a link must be made between the acts by some discriminatory state of affairs being established.

Yes, deemed disabilities include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV infection
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Blindness, severe sight impairment, sight impairment and partial sightedness (provided this is certified by a consultant ophthalmologist) and severe disfigurements.

In all other cases, the statutory test applies. This states: “A person (P) has a disability if (a) P has a physical or mental impairment, and (b) the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Direct discrimination cannot generally be justified. With regard to direct age discrimination this will only occur when an employer cannot objectively justify their actions.

The basis of a complaint of discrimination must be linked to a Protected Characteristic. These Protected Characteristic are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race (which includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin)
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

The Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination:

  • When in the workplace
  • When using public services
  • Transport
  • Clubs or associations
  • Public bodies like government departments and local authorities
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Employment Status

As a worker, you have various statutory rights including:

  • The right to the national minimum wage / national living wage
  • Not to suffer detriment for exercising rights in respect of the national minimum wage / national living wage
  • Protection against unlawful deduction from wages
  • Working Time Regulation provisions in relation to paid annual leave, rest breaks and maximum, working week
  • Not to suffer detriment for exercising rights in respect of the Working Time Regulations
  • Right not to suffer discrimination
  • Not to suffer less favourable treatment due to part time worker rights
  • Right to be accompanied at disciplinary or grievance hearings
  • Not to suffer a detriment for exercising the right to be accompanied at disciplinary hearing or grievance hearing.

As an employee, you have various statutory rights including:

  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay
  • Minimum notice periods if their employment will be ending, e.g. if an employer is dismissing them
  • Protection against unfair dismissal
  • The right to request flexible working
  • Time off for emergencies
  • Statutory Redundancy Pay

Some of these rights require a minimum length of continuous employment before an employee qualifies for them.

There are five main types of employment status:

  • Employee
  • Worker
  • Self Employed
  • Director
  • Office Holder
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Redundancy

You have the right to a statutory redundancy payment if you are an employee who has worked continuously for your employer for at least two years and you are being made redundant.

Please click here to visit the .gov redundancy calculator.

Flexible working

There are two ways to ask for flexible working:

  • a statutory request
  • a non-statutory request

To be eligible to make a statutory application the individual must:

  • be an employee;
  • have worked for the employer continuously for 26 weeks when the written request is made; and
  • not have made a request within the last 12 months

An employer must handle the request in accordance with the law on flexible working. An employer will need to consider the request and decides within three months unless agreed otherwise with the employee.

There are eight business grounds upon which an employer may reject the request. These are

  • Burden of additional costs
  • Inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality
  • Detrimental impact on performance
  • Adverse effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes to the business

If you do not meet the criteria for making a statutory request, you could still make a non-statutory request, or make one under your employer’s scheme if there is one.

Maternity

It is automatically unfair to dismiss a woman (at any time) or to select her for redundancy when the reason (or principal reason) for the dismissal (or selection for redundancy) is connected to her pregnancy or statutory maternity leave.

It is also automatically unfair to dismiss her or select her for redundancy during maternity leave for a reason connected to the fact that she has given birth. A claim for pregnancy and maternity discrimination could also be pursued. If a redundancy situation does arise during your maternity leave period, your employer must offer any available suitable alternative vacancy to you in preference to any other employee who is also potentially redundant but not on maternity leave.

An employee returning to work after ordinary maternity leave is entitled to return to the job previously held prior to maternity leave, on the same terms and conditions.

An employee returning to work after additional maternity leave is also entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions as if she had not been absent unless a redundancy situation has arisen or if it is not reasonably practical for her employer to take her back in her original job.

During periods of paid maternity leave, either ordinary or additional, an employer’s pension contribution should be calculated as if the woman is working normally and receiving the usual remuneration.

During unpaid maternity leave, i.e. the last 13 weeks of additional maternity leave, the employer would not be under any duty to continue contributions unless otherwise provided in the contract.

Regardless of length of service, a pregnant employee is entitled to take 26 weeks’ ordinary maternity leave followed immediately by 26 weeks’ additional maternity leave.

An individual is entitled to the benefit of all terms and conditions of employment which would have applied had she not been absent except for remuneration i.e. salary.

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Dismissals and Disciplinary

Unlike the County Courts or High Court there are no costs for issuing a claim at the Employment Tribunal.

If the tribunal finds that the employee was unfairly dismissed, in can order compensation, reinstatement or re-engagement.

A compensation award will compromise a basic award and a compensatory award. The basic award is calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy payment. The compensatory award is to compensate the employee for past and future financial losses arising as a result of the dismissal. An employee is under a duty to mitigate their losses. The maximum compensatory award from 6 April 2022 is £93,878 or 52-weeks gross pay, whichever is the lower.

All employees with at least two year’s continuous service are entitled to written reasons for their dismissal on request.

The statutory minimum notice to be given by an employee who has been continuously employed for one month or more to terminate his or her contract is not less than one week.

Where the employee has been employed for one month but less than two years, the statutory minimum to be provided by the employer is one week’s notice. After two years’ service this rises to one week for each year of continuous service, although a maximum of 12 weeks’ notice applies where the employee has been employed for 12 years or more.

Yes. Your statutory right is for either a Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague.

The person appointed to deal with a grievance should be objective and should not have been involved in the issues giving rise to the employee’s complaint.

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Employment Tribunal

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