Friday, 08 November 2019 14:01

Statutory Rights for Workers

To protect workers, the law lays down certain terms that are an entitlement to all workers as a minimum. Such terms are classed as statutory and whilst they can be enhanced or improved upon by an employer, they cannot be made less beneficial or worse than the statutory minimum.

As suggested by their title, statutory terms of employment are set by “statute”. In other words, they are imposed, varied or regulated by an act of law that has been passed by Parliament.

An employer is entitled to improve upon or embellish a statutory term of employment as much as he or she wishes and might have good cause to do this. The most likely reasons might be to attract and retain the very best staff.

A good example of a statutory term that is often enhanced is holiday entitlement. The statutory minimum annual holiday for a full time worker in the UK is 28 days including bank holidays. An employer can choose to increase this entitlement to any number of days per year above this, but he cannot reduce this minimum entitlement or take holiday days away.

Statutory terms often have a qualifying period before they come into force, or change depending upon the length of service. There are around 30 statutory terms or rights. Some of the more pertinent ones are:

  • The right to be paid at least the national minimum wage.
  • The right to 28 days per year paid holiday. Pro-rata for part time staff
  • The right to time off for trade union duties and activities although This time off does not necessarily have to be paid
  • The right to maternity, paternity and/or adoption leave OR Paid maternity, paternity and/or adoption leave after a qualifying length of service
  • The right to unpaid shared parental leave or paid shared parental leave after a qualifying period
  • The right to sick pay following a qualifying period of employment and after qualifying period of sickness
  • The right to ask for flexible working, although it may not necessarily be awarded
  • The right not to be discriminated against
  • The right to notice of dismissal. This is subject to one month’s service and varies thereafter depending on the length of service
  • The right to claim redundancy pay if made redundant after two years’ service
  • The right not to suffer detriment or dismissal for whistleblowing on a matter of public concern at the workplace

These terms should be considered as non-negotiable and are what you must accept as soon as you become an employer. Some will feature in your employment contracts whilst others will be better placed in your company handbook. We’ll happy review these documents for you. As usual, if you need support regarding any issues raised here, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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