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Your rights at work

Your rights at workFind out about the legal rights that protect you when you are an employee.

There are two kinds of rights that employees have. Statutory rights, like the minimum wage, are set by law and can't be overruled by a contract. Contract rights are agreed between you and your employer and will vary from job to job. This article will focus on your statutory rights.

Rights are different for some kinds of workers, such as agency workers or members of the armed forces. Some rights only start when you have been in your job for a certain length of time. If you aren't sure if a right applies to you, you can contact the Citizens' Advice Bureau to find out.

Getting paid

You have the right:

Holidays and time off

You have the right to:

  • 28 days of paid  holiday per year (if you work full-time)
  • Paid maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • Paid time off for antenatal care
  • Time off to look after children and dependants (though this could be unpaid)
  • Paid time off to look for another job if you are made redundant
  • Paid time off if you are sick

Union rights

Trade unions allow workers to negotiate with their employer as a group. You have the right to:

  • Choose whether or not to join a trade union
  • Take time off to take part in union activities (though this could be unpaid)

Working hours

You have the right to:

  • Work no more than 48 hours in a week
  • Have one day off each week (or two each fortnight)
  • A 20 minute break each day, if you work more than six hours
  • 11 hours' rest between working days

Losing your job

You have the right to:

  • Claim compensation if you're fired unfairly
  • Get redundancy pay if you're made redundant after more than two years' employment
  • Get a written record of the reason you have been asked to leave, if you have been in your job for more than two years.
  • Be given notice before you are fired

Find out more about losing your job.

Making sure you get your rights

If you think your employer is ignoring your rights, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Try to deal with the situation informally, since this will be easiest for both you and your employer if it works.
  • Complain to your employer in writing. They should arrange a meeting to discuss the problem, and you can appeal if you don't agree with the action they take.
  • If nothing else works, you can take legal action by going to an employment tribunal.

Find out more about enforcing your rights.