Starting a New Job? A Guide to Understanding Your Rights in Work

Last Updated:
December 11, 2022
Kay Nicole

Starting a New Job? A Guide to Understanding Your Rights in Work

Starting a new job is never easy. When switching to a new workplace, you have to be prepared for all possible scenarios. Things may either work out great and you could fit in perfectly, or you can find yourself in some unexpected situations, both with your employer and your colleagues. The most important thing you can do to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises is to familiarize yourself with your rights as an employee.

Unfair dismissals

The first thing you ought to know is that you cannot be dismissed from your position without a valid reason. A lot of new employees seem to fear getting fired, but they really have no reason for that. If at any point in your contract you get dismissed, your employer has to provide an adequate reason, and there is a proper legal procedure that has to be followed. If you get unfairly dismissed, you should definitely contact a lawyer who will help you get proper compensation for the dismissal.

Fair compensation

Since we have already mentioned compensation, you are entitled to a salary that is either equal to or above your national minimum wage. You also have the right to be treated equally as others, so you should not get paid less than any other worker with your level of expertise and who are doing the same job you do. That also goes for gender and sexual orientation. Make sure that you have the terms of your salary properly laid out in your contract, so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of the month.

A safe work environment

All employees have the right to work in a safe environment, no matter where they work. This means that, even if your job is dangerous by nature, you deserve to be properly equipped and trained. Employees are obligated to educate their workers about workplace health and safety, regardless if you work in an office or a volcano, it is possible to get injured at both workplaces. Your employer also has to provide you with safety equipment and has to take measures in order to prevent illness and injury.

Working time regulations

You should also familiarize yourself with your rights when it comes to working hours. Firstly, you do not need to work more than 48 hours a week, unless you specifically request overtime. This usually has to be paid extra. Secondly, you have the right to paid leave. The duration of which depends on the regulations in your country. You are also allowed to have at least 11 hours of rest in between work shifts.

You also have the right to at least 24 hours clear of work each week, or 48 hours every two weeks. Also, when it comes to breaks, you are entitled to at least 20 minutes if you work longer than 6 hours. But, this may also vary depending on the job and country. It is always a smart idea to consult employment contract lawyers. They can help negotiate the terms of your contract and maybe even tailor it to your needs.

Sick leave and pay

You have the right to sick leave. You can even use your statutory holiday entitlement during your sickness. Additionally, you only need to provide proof of illness after 7 days off. The pay rate is determined by law. However, you can negotiate sick leave with your employer when writing a contract.

Maternity and paternity leave

When pregnant, you have the right to maternity leave and paid time off for antenatal care. You also have the right to maternity pay or an allowance. You are also protected by law against dismissal, discrimination, and unfair treatment. Your partner also has the right to paid paternity leave of at least two weeks. Or, 26 weeks if the mother returns to work. Plus, unpaid leave for antenatal appointments.

Implied terms

Besides explicitly stated contract terms, you may also be required to follow certain implicit office rules. These implicit terms are usually left out of the contract but are supposed to be followed. For example, you should not steal from your employer. Similarly, your employer should not require you to do anything illegal, like drive an uninsured vehicle. There are also office rules that have been established by custom or practice. This is often the case in the catering industry. Here, there is usually a plethora of business practices you should obey as a new employee.

Unauthorized deductions from wages

Just like with dismissals, if an employer wants to deduce something from your wage, then it has to be legally justified, for example, tax and National Insurance. These instances have to be explicitly stated and agreed upon in your contract. There are instances where an employer can take deductions out of your wages. For example, if you have been accidentally overpaid. However, when it comes to pay deductions because of cash shortages, retail workers are protected by law. An employer is allowed to take only less than 10% to cover for shortages.

There are many things to think about when signing an employment contract, from your rights protected by law, and obligations, to implied terms. It is best to consult an employment contract lawyer to help set the terms that work best for you.

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