An Overview of Employment Law

Employment law governs both employers and employees. Everyone has certain responsibilities, although these can often be confusing as employment law is a vast and complex topic.

The best thing to do is to seek specific advice from employment law solicitors. To help you understand the areas you might need assistance in, we put together a brief overview of employment law.


When hiring a new employee, the law specifies many key points, including:

  • Discrimination is illegal. Clear records should be kept detailing why one candidate was selected over another. Interview candidates can ask to see a copy of their interview notes.

  • A contract exists the moment a candidate accepts a job offer. An employer may stipulate that in an offer of employment that the contract will be governed by terms and conditions to be provided at a later date.

  • Written terms and conditions must be provided within the first two months. These terms and conditions must cover some basic areas including job title, rate of pay, holiday entitlement, place of work and working hours.

Pay, Hours, and Leave

From minimum wage for supporting pregnant employees, it is worth getting employment law advice on the basics. There’s a lot to consider, including:

  • The maximum number of hours an employee can work (48 per week unless they voluntarily agree otherwise), how much paid leave they receive per year (a minimum of 5.6 weeks), and the right to ask for flexible working after 26 weeks of service.

  • The right to National Minimum Wage. As of October 2015 employees over the age of 21 must be paid at least £6.70 per hour. Tips, gratuities, and service charges do not count towards National Minimum Wage. From April 2016 employees over the age of 25 must be paid the National Living Wage at £7.50 per hour.

  • Employers must deduct tax and National Insurance on behalf of employees. Under a Pay As You Earn scheme it is the employer’s responsibility to deduct the necessary tax and National Insurance contributions from employee wages and pay them to HMRC.

Employee Rights

Employees have many rights, including a right to:

  • A healthy, safe, and secure working environment. Failure to take the necessary precautions required to keep employees safe could have serious financial and criminal consequences.

  • A pay statement. This must show the total gross pay, any deductions made, and net pay. All deductions must be itemised.

  • Belong to a trade union. Employees must be free to decide whether or not they wish to belong to a trade union.

  • Reasonable privacy. There are circumstances where an employer may wish to monitor employee’s calls, emails, and internet time. Whether or not they can is covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Data Protection Act.

Discrimination and Dismissal

Issues of discrimination and dismissal are two important areas which employment solicitors can assist with. Employers must remember that:

  • It is illegal to discriminate, based upon factors such as race, sexuality, gender, disability, or religious views.

  • They are responsible for any discrimination that is carried out by either themselves or their employees.

  • Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled employees to allow them to carry out their role.

  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures must comply with the Acas Code of Practice.

  • Dismissals must be fair and justifiable.

Get Employment Law Ddvice From Employment Solicitors

The rights and regulations outlined here cover just a small part of employment law. If you are thinking of hiring new employees, have a question about employment law, or are facing a disciplinary or dismissal issue, get in touch with our team of expert employment law solicitors today.