Your rights as a worker are protected by UK law.
Some rights apply as soon as you get a job, others depend on how long you work. This leaflet sets out what you should expect from your employer. These are your legal rights.
Your employment rights
National Minimum Wage
If you are in a permanent job, on a short term contract or working for an agency, the very minimum you should receive is the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW), depending on your age.
If you are on ‘piece work’ pay (for the number of items you complete, pack or pick) you should still earn at least the relevant minimum wage per hour.
There are a few exceptions, including self-employed and voluntary workers. To find out more, visit www.gov.uk and search for ‘NMW’.
An itemised payslip
You should receive a pay slip on the day you are paid, which shows your gross pay and your net (take home) pay. It should show the amount and reason for any deductions taken from your pay. Deductions that change each time you're paid, such as tax and National Insurance, should be listed on each pay slip. You should receive your agreed pay on time, including any holiday or sick pay due to you.
Hours of work
You should not have to work more than 48 hours a week, including any overtime, unless you have chosen to do so.
You are entitled to at least one day off per week, or two days every two weeks. If you work for more than six hours a day, you should have a rest break of at least 20 minutes.
You are entitled by law to a minimum number of weeks of paid holiday a year, starting from your first day at work. This includes part time, zero hours and fixed term contract workers.
The amount of holiday you get depends on the days or hours you work. It is based on your normal working hours (pro rata for part-time workers), accrued during the time you work for your employer and should be paid at your normal working rate.
When you leave your job, any holiday you are owed should be paid to you. If your employer will not allow you to take any holiday or you are owed holiday pay, you can contact the Acas Helpline or Citizens Advice for guidance on claiming the money back.
Find out more about ‘pay and work rights’ at gov.uk.
Deductions of wages
Your employer can only make certain deductions from your wages and they must be listed on your pay slip.
You should always receive the ‘net amount’ shown after deductions. Some deductions are statutory, like tax and National Insurance, others you may have agreed to, such as accommodation or transport charges.
Some deductions in contracts may not be legal. Even deductions you have agreed to must not take your pay below the minimum wage, except for a limited amount for accommodation. If you are not sure, please contact us.
Your contract should state what payment you will receive if you are ill and cannot work. The minimum amount you are entitled to in the UK is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This applies when you are away from work for four days or more in a row. Your contract may give you additional pay or benefits in other circumstances.
Health and safety
Your employer has a legal responsibility for your health and safety at work. You should receive information, training, protective clothing and any necessary replacements free of charge, where appropriate.
Terms and conditions
You should receive a document stating the main conditions of your employment when you start work. This document includes a 'principal statement' which should be given to you on your first day of work and must include:
- Your name
- Your employer's name and address
- Job title or description of work and start date
- Place of work, which should include all locations
- How much and how often you will be paid
- Hours and days of work, and if they will vary
- Holiday entitlement (including public holidays)
- How long the job is expected to last
- Length and conditions of the probation period
- Obligatory training
- Any other benefits (lunch, childcare vouchers)
On your first day of work your employer should also tell you about:
- Sick pay and procedures
- Other paid leave
- Notice periods
You must receive a wider written statement with more information, within two months of starting work.
About the GLAA
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) is an organisation set up to protect workers from exploitation. We work with partner organisations to raise awareness, prevent exploitation and investigate unlicensed and illegal activity throughout the UK.
We check workers are treated fairly and lawfully. We investigate labour abuse issues such as underpayment of wages through to the modern slavery offences of forced labour and human trafficking.
Our licensing scheme regulates businesses who supply workers to the fresh produce and horticulture sectors to make sure that they meet the employment standards required by law. This includes agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and all associated processing and packaging.
All ‘gangmasters’ (companies or individuals supplying workers) in these sectors must have a GLAA licence and comply with the licensing standards. It is a criminal offence to operate without a licence in these sectors or to use an unlicensed gangmaster to supply workers.
Spot the signs
There are a number of signs that can indicate someone is being exploited or controlled. These can include:
- receiving little or no payment for work
- being forced to work long hours, with no time off
- having no passport, identity documents or money
- being unable to communicate freely
- living in substandard accommodation
- having untreated injuries
- accruing debts for transport or unwanted services
- depending on employer for work, travel and accommodation
You can find out more about how to spot the signs of labour exploitation at www.gla.gov.uk.
If you are not receiving the pay and conditions you should be, or you have any concerns or suspicions of worker exploitation, please contact us without delay.
To discuss your employment rights with an experienced advisor contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100.
Get in touch with us for advice, assistance or to report an issue.
Call our free, confidential helpline: 0800 432 0804
for information and to report issues
In an emergency, if there is a risk of danger to life, or violence is being used or threatened, call the police using 999.