When you employ people, there are several pieces of legislation about which you should be aware.

The Equality Act 2010 protects everyone in Britain from discrimination.

Other important legislation:

The ERA 1996 is an all-encompassing act that enshrines many of the rights of employees in one place.
The main terms of the act are:

  • The right to a statement of employment particulars (terms and conditions)
    • Continuous service
  • Sunday working
  • Protected disclosures (whistleblowing)
  • The right to maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption leave
    • parental bereavement leave
  • The right to not be unfairly dismissed
    • Fair reasons for dismissal
  • Redundancy

This, rather self-explanatory, act sets out the right for an individual who is a worker over school leaver age, to be remunerated at a rate which is no lower than the national minimum wage. The rate is set annually and is different depending upon age and whether an individual is an apprentice in their first year of their apprenticeship.

The age ranges are:

  • Apprentice
  • Under 18
  • 18 – 20
  • 21 – 22
  • 23 and over

Annual rates can be found on the government website.

The ROA gives individuals with spent convictions the right not to disclose those convictions when applying for most jobs. This is unless the role is exempt from the act.

A role is exempt if it is subject to a standard or enhanced DBS check. DBS eligibility can be checked here.

An employer only has the right to ask for information on unspent convictions. Information on whether a conviction or caution is spent, can be found here.

The Fixed Term Employees Regulations set out an individual’s rights if they are working under a contract of employment that is due to expire on a specified date. This could be a seasonal worker or someone covering a period of maternity leave for example.

These regulations protect fixed term employees from detrimental treatment due to their status. Employers must:

  • Pay the same as a permanent equivalent,
  • Give the same benefits,
  • Allow the same access to vacancies within the organisation,
  • Provide the same protections against redundancy and unfair dismissal.

Any fixed term employee who has worked for the same organisation for over 2 years, has the same redundancy rights as a permanent employee.

If a fixed term employee has worked for the same organisation for over 4 years, their contract will automatically become permanent unless the employer can demonstrate a fair business reason not to do so.

All employees have the right to make a flexible working request if they have worked for the same employer for over 26 weeks.

Flexible working arrangements may include (but are not limited to):

  • Job sharing
  • Working from home
  • Working part time
  • Compressed hours

An employer must reasonably consider the request and may only reject the request if one of the following statutory reasons applies:

  • extra costs that will damage the business,
  • the work cannot be reorganised among other staff,
  • people cannot be recruited to do the work,
  • flexible working will affect quality and performance,
  • the business will not be able to meet customer demand,
  • there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times,
  • the business is planning changes to the workforce.

An employer must respond to the employer within three months of the application being made, and while it is not a statutory requirement to allow employees to appeal decisions, it will demonstrate that the employer has considered the application in a “reasonable manner” if they allow an appeal to be made.

This list is not exhaustive – the government website has a good summary of employment legislation and more details and advice can also be found on the ACAS website.