Your rights at work (part 2) | Blog | Paul Doran Law

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Your rights at work (part 2)

This article builds on our recent article Your rights at work

If you are on probation…

When you first start working for a new employer, they might initially treat you as being on a ‘probationary’ period.

However, in law, there is no such thing as a probationary period; you retain your statutory rights from day one. And, unless your contract says otherwise, your full contractual rights start on the day you start work.

Your contract might contain less favourable terms during your probationary period, and it might allow your employer to extend your probationary period if they need more time to assess your performance. But your employer can’t argue that you do not have the usual employment rights during this time.

If you are on a fixed-term contract…

In this case, your contract will have a date when your employment ends. Special rules cover this situation, so if you are on a fixed-term contract, you will need to take professional advice. (See our contact details.)

If you are on a series of short-term contracts…

Some statutory rights only apply after you have been continuously employed for a certain period.

If the same employer has employed you on a series of short-term contracts, in certain circumstances, your contracts can be added together to form continuous employment.

You will need to take professional advice to find out whether this applies in your case.

If you are on a zero-hours or key-time contract…

If your contract does not specify the number of hours that you will be required to work, it might say you must be ready to work ‘whenever you’re asked’, or guarantee you some work but not regular hours each week.

Unless your contract says otherwise, you are entitled to be paid for any time you spend waiting for work on work premises (but not for waiting time at home). You should be paid your normal hourly rate, or at least the National Minimum Wage.

Since 2015, it has been illegal for an employer to include an exclusivity clause that bans you from doing other work while on a zero-hours contract.

If your contract says ‘hours will vary each week’…

If your contract says there are no set hours that you must be available to work, but in practice, you work the same hours each day/week, it may become an ‘implied term’ of your contract. In this case, you should be paid your normal wage for your usual hours – even if there is no work to do.

If your employer calls you a casual worker…

In law, it doesn’t matter what your employer calls you. What matters is the reality of your employment situation.

To discover whether you are a casual worker or not – and therefore what rights apply to you – you will need to ask an experienced adviser.

If your employer calls you a trainee…

As above, whether or not you are a trainee depends on your actual working relationship and employment contract. It doesn’t depend on the title your employer gives you.

An expert adviser will help you understand your rights.

If you are an employee shareholder…

An employee shareholder gives up their right to:

In return, you receive between £2,000 and £50,000 worth of shares in the company (the first £2,000 is free of income tax and national insurance contributions).

You and your employer must agree to you becoming an employee shareholder.

You should have a written statement from your employer explaining your shareholder status and rights. You should receive independent legal advice (that your employer should pay for), and you must be allowed a seven-day cooling-off period before the agreement is finalised.

You must not be subjected to detriment if you refuse to move to employee shareholder status, and your employer is not allowed to dismiss you for refusing to move to that status. If you are claiming jobseeker’s allowance, your JSA will not be reduced or stopped if you refuse to apply for an employee shareholder job.

If your employer wants to change your contract…

Your employer might want to change the type of work you do, your place of work, the hours you work, or the amount they pay you.

In theory, they do not have the right to change your contract without your agreement. In practice, you might have to accept the change or lose your job.

If you disagree with the change, you may be able to take action against your employer – this depends on what is written in your existing contract and/or statement of terms and conditions of employment.

Is your employment contract illegal?

Your contract will be illegal if:

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about your employment status, please let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

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For a FREE assessment of your claim, call 0808 168 7288 or fill in the contact form on the top right of this page.

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