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Employment Law Unit 2: People in Business

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1 Employment Law Unit 2: People in Business
Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Icons key: For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation Flash activity. These activities are not editable. Teacher’s notes included in the Notes Page Extension activities Sound Web addresses 1 of 27 1 of 29 © Boardworks Ltd 2007 © Boardworks Ltd 2007

2 Learning objectives What rights do employers have?
What rights do employees have? What laws are in place to protect the rights of employers and employees? 2 of 42 2 of 29 © Boardworks Ltd 2006 © Boardworks Ltd 2007

3 Overview The success of a business depends on good working
relations between its employers and employees. In order for this to happen, both groups need to know what is expected of them. For example, an employer will expect the employee to turn up for work on time, and complete the work they have been given. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation In turn, an employee will expect to carry out the work as agreed during their interview, and they will expect to finish work at the time agreed.

4 Overview Employers and employees will usually do what is expected of them, but not always. For example, an employer might make his or her staff work in unsafe conditions, or an employee may refuse to do the work asked of him or her. To deal with issues like these, employees and employers are protected by certain legal rights. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

5 Statutory and contractual rights
Both employers and employees have rights at work, and they also have responsibilities. An employee’s rights are an employer’s responsibilities and vice versa. Some legal rights are statutory. These are rights derived from laws passed by parliament, and apply to everyone. All permanent employees, for example, are entitled to a minimum of four weeks’ paid holiday. Other legal rights are contractual. These are rights agreed between an employer and employee, and stated in a contract of employment. For example, an employee agrees to start work at 9am. For example, it is an employee’s right to work in a safe environment, and an employer’s responsibility to provide one. A contract of employment cannot take away statutory rights, though it can increase them, for example by allowing an employee more than five weeks of holiday a year. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Photo of contract: © 2007 stockxchang

6 Rights and responsibilities

7 Employer and employee rights
Employers can legally expect their employees to: meet the terms of their contracts co-operate in meeting the objectives of the business comply with health and safety regulations. Employees can legally expect to be: paid according to their contracts provided with a safe working environment appropriately trained permitted to join trade unions allowed access to any confidential records kept on them as employees. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

8 Meeting the terms of the contract
A contract of employment is a legally binding agreement between an employer and employee. Employees should be issued with a contract within eight weeks of starting a job. When an employee signs a contract of employment they are expected to abide by its terms. These include: express terms – terms which are expressly stated in the contract of employment – e.g. the employee agrees to start work at a particular time. implied terms – terms which are not written down but are taken to be agreed, usually because they are obvious – e.g. the employee agrees to be honest.

9 Terms in a contract of employment

10 Meeting the business objectives
Different businesses will have different objectives, but in general, all businesses will aim to provide a successful product or service and to make a profit. It is an implied part of an employee’s contract that they work in a way which allows their employer to meet the objectives of the business. This means that they should do all the work asked of them, follow instructions, behave responsibly, and not give away confidential information about the company. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

11 Following health and safety regulations
Compliance with health and safety legislation is a statutory requirement for both employers and employees. Just as employers are legally obliged to provide a safe working environment, employees have a legal duty to work safely. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA) is the main law covering all workplaces. It contains the responsibilities that all employers have towards their employees, and those that employees have towards themselves and others. This might include wearing the necessary protective clothing, or observing company no-smoking polices. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 can be found in full at: Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

12 Following health and safety regulations
The full Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 document can be found at:

13 Employee rights and payment
All employees have the right to be paid a wage or salary in accordance with the details of their contract of employment. Employees are, by law, entitled to receive an itemized payslip to accompany each payment of their wages. This sets out each element of their pay, including the gross pay and net pay, and any deductions, including tax. Under the law, all permanent employees also have a right to: a minimum of twenty days’ paid holiday a year paid sick leave redundancy pay (for two or more years’ service).

14 Employee rights and payment
The National Minimum Wage is set by the government and states the minimum amount that all employees aged sixteen and over must be paid per hour. Employers who do not pay the minimum amount can face fines of up to £200. Different rates of minimum wages apply to employees of different ages. Do you know what the current national minimum wage is for adults (aged 22 and over), young workers (aged 18-21) and workers aged 16-17? Adults (22 and over): As of October 2006, the minimum wage is £5.35 for adults, £4.45 for young workers and £3.30 for year olds. Note that for employees under 16, there is no minimum wage protection. Updated information about the minimum wage can be found at: Young workers (18-21): Workers aged 16-17:

15 Employee rights and training
Whether they are operating dangerous machinery or just working in an office, all employees have a legal right to expect health and safety training from their employers. This will usually be given to an employee during their induction period in a new job. Though not legally required to, most employers will also offer training to develop their employees’ skills and teach them new ones. This may be essential, for example, when new technology is introduced to a business. Extension task: students could be asked to write a training exercise that would familiarize new staff and students with the Health and Safety policy of the school. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

16 Employee rights and trade unions
Trade unions and staff associations are organizations which act to protect and promote the interests of employees. All employees are legally entitled to join a trade union or staff association, and under the Employment Relations Act 1999, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against staff who are union members. Britain’s biggest trade union is UNISON, which represents workers in the public service sector. Like other trade unions, UNISON carries out a number of services for its members, such as offering legal advice, and negotiating with employers over wages and working conditions. Logo © Unison More information about Unison can be found at: Extension task: students could do some research into other trade unions, such as AMICUS, TGWU and NUJ. Students could find out and record for each union they investigate: who the union represents, how many members it has and what the union does for its members.

17 Employee rights and data protection
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives all employees the right to view any personal information their employer has on file about them. Under the Act, companies can only hold sensitive information about someone – such as their ethnic origin – with the individual’s permission, and must not pass on personal data to other parties without their employee’s consent. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing data protection in the workplace. An employee can complain to the ICO if their employer has denied them access to information, or if they feel personal data about them has been misused. For further information about the Data Protection Act and its enforcement, refer to:

18 Employee rights and working hours
The Working Time Regulations Act 1998 restricts the number of hours most employees can work in the UK. Unless they sign a written agreement to do so, employees do not have to work more than 48 hours a week. Under the Working Time Regulations Act, employees are also entitled to: a break of at least 20 minutes for a six-hour working day eleven hours off between each working day (12 if under 18) one day off per week (two if aged under 18) twenty days of paid holiday per year. Note that all working time regulations listed apply to part-time workers (on a pro-rata basis) as well as to full-time employees. The police, trainee doctors and members of the armed forces are among the employees to whom working time regulations do not apply. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Can you think of any jobs that the Working Time Regulations Act might not apply to?

19 Anagrams

20 Equal opportunities and the law
There are a number of laws in place which provide protection against discrimination in the workplace, and help to ensure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of their gender, race, disability or age. These laws include: The Equal Pay Act The Sex Discrimination Act The Race Relation Act The Disability Discrimination Act Employment Equality (Age) Regulations. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

21 The Equal Pay Act The Equal Pay Act 1970 states that men and women must receive the same pay for work of equal, or equivalent, value. An employer can only provide different pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex, such as longer service with the company or better qualifications. Male or female employees who feel they have received unequal pay because of their gender can seek advice from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). The EOC aims to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sex. The Equal Pay Act 1970 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 can be found at: More information about the role of the Equal Opportunities Commission can be found at: Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

22 The Sex Discrimination Act
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes it illegal for one employee to be treated less favourably than another because of their gender or marital status. The Act applies to all areas of employment, and direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination would include a job advert for a secretary which requests females only. Indirect discrimination is where one gender is not excluded outright, but faces conditions they might find it difficult to comply with, e.g. a job advert asking for only short-haired people to apply. It is acceptable for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of gender for acting and modelling jobs and live-in jobs, for example a family requesting a female live-in nanny. Note that somebody receiving preferential treatment, male or female is not an infringement of the law if there is a strong business case for it i.e. he or she was the best qualified, or his or her existing job was at risk of redundancy. Note that the amended Act also provides protection against discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. The Sex Discrimination Act can be found in full at: Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Can you think of any cases where it might be acceptable for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a person’s gender?

23 The Race Relations Act The Race Relations Act 1976 makes it illegal for an employee to be discriminated against on the grounds of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. Employees are protected against all forms of direct and indirect discrimination at all stages of the employment process, including recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal. The Race Relations Act can be found in full at: The Commission for Racial Equality website is at If an employee feels they have been discriminated against on racial grounds, they can take their case to an employment tribunal. The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) provides advice and guidance to help deal with disputes.

24 The Disability Discrimination Act
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 aims to protect employees with disabilities from discrimination in recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal. Under the Act, employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their workplace to allow a disabled person to work there. These include: modifications to premises such as improving access altering the disabled person’s work hours giving the disabled person training providing support workers. The full Disability Discrimination Act can be found at: Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

25 Employment Equality (Age) Regulations
New rights to do with age-related treatment at work were introduced in Under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of their age, unless they can show that the discrimination is justified. Justified discrimination includes, for example, a business refusing to hire a young worker who cannot meet a driving licence requirement relating to age. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 can be found in full at: Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

26 Equal opportunities in the workplace
Note that the example of indirect sex discrimination is such because only offering benefits to full-time employees will affect more women then men because women are more likely to be working part-time.

27 Question time! 1. Identify three rights of an employer and three rights of an employee. 2. What is the difference between a statutory and a contractual legal right? Give one example of each. 3. What are the basic duties of all employers and employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act? Employers have the right to expect their employees to meet the terms of the contract, e.g. work the number of hours specified, to comply with health and safety regulations and to co-operate in meeting the business’s objectives. Employee rights include the right to be paid, to work in a safe environment and to be allowed to join trade unions. A statutory right is a legal right that applies to everyone, for example the right not to be discriminated against. A contractual right is a right stated in the employee’s contract of employment, for example to right to start work at a set time. Employers are obliged to provide a safe working environment and employees have a duty to work safely. Discrimination means treating someone differently because of their gender, race, age or because they have a disability. Two laws which protect employees against unfair treatment are the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equal Pay Act 1970. What is meant by the term discrimination? Name two laws which protect employees against unfair treatment. 4.

28 Who wants to be an A* student?
Answers: eight weeks staff not to take holidays 20 48 hours per week personal information held about themselves employees under 16 themselves and others one day UNISON 20 minutes

29 Glossary


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