If you employ staff, even if they are part-time or temporary then you will be bound and regulated by employment law.   Employment laws are in place to protect employees’ rights but also to protect those of employers.  It is key to have a good understanding of both in order to ensure that you are compliant and that you are prepared should any employee decide to take action against you.

Your employees’ statutory rights

There are certain rights that all employees have and as an employer, you are expected to be aware of them and ensure they are upheld.

Legal Requirements
Whenever you take on staff it is important that you are aware of their statutory rights as an employee, and therefore, your statutory obligations towards them.  Some of the key rights that you’ll need to know about are;

The Right to Written Terms of Employment
In other words, your employees have the right to a written contract which lays out all the terms of their employment such as their expected hours of work, their salary and their holiday entitlement.

The Right to a Payslip
This should be itemised, showing both all forms of pay and deductions.

The Right to be Paid at least the National Minimum Wage
The actual amount of minimum pay depends on factors such as your employee’s age and the type of role that they’re doing.  For example, an apprentice will be entitled to a smaller amount than others.

The Right to Paid Holiday
A full time worker has the right to 28 days of paid leave.  As an employer, you can choose to include Bank Holidays as part of this paid leave.

A Workplace Pension
By 2018 all employers will be expected to provide a workplace pension for their eligible employees.  At least 1% of your staff’s ‘qualified earnings’ must be paid into their workplace pension.

These are just a few of the obligations that you will have towards your staff as an employer.  Don’t feel overwhelmed.  There’s a lot to know but there’s also a lot of support out there.  For more information, visit Gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/browse/employing-people) or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Freelancers and contractors

If you hire freelance or contract workers, then normal employment law doesn’t necessarily apply.  Freelancers and contractors are self-employed and so not employed by you.  Therefore, you will not be expected to provide things like sick pay, maternity pay and so on.  However, freelance and contract workers will still have the right to work safely and without discrimination.

Your rights as an employer

The list of employees’ rights can seem large and overwhelming but don’t forget that as an employer, you have rights too!  Essentially, you have the right to ask your employees to perform the jobs they were employed to do.  Failure to do so, should result in performance management and ultimately, dismissal if a satisfactory outcome isn’t reached.

You also have the right to ask your employees to act in a professional manner and to maintain certain behavioural standards.  Again, failure to do so should result in behaviour management or immediate dismissal depending on the severity of the infringement.

You also have the right to ask your employees to show up to work if they are healthy and able to do so.


As your business grows and develops you may find that there are certain roles which are no longer needed.  In this situation then you have the right to make those roles redundant.  This can be a difficult time for employers but of course also for those employees who are being made redundant.  It is therefore important that their rights are withheld.  They have the right to redundancy pay, to be given a period of time to find other work and if possible to be redeployed elsewhere within your own business.

For more help on handling redundancies, visit Gov.Uk (https://www.gov.uk/staff-redundant) or go to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).