Human Resources, News

The Employment Rights Act 1996 and Workers Rights

What is The Employment Rights Act 1996?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 is a parliamentary law brought in by the Conservative government to structure the pre-existing laws of employment for the individual that was established under Labour laws. The Act updated on previous legislation that was established in the 1960s as well as the Employment Protection Act 1975 and the Wages Act 1986. The Employment Rights Act 1996 further extended the rights of workers as well as granted additional protections of the law. The purpose of the Act was to consolidate enactments relating to employee rights and it covers areas such as:

  • Contract of Employment
    • In the 1996 Act, the contract of employment should be provided within two months of starting a new job and should be signed by both parties. The contract should outline important areas of employment such as, wages, job title and hours of work as well as duration of employment if working temporary hours.
  • Wage Slips
    • The 1996 Act stated that an employee has the right to receive an itemised pay statement (payslip) that must include employer deductions before he payment of wages is due.
  • Parental Leave
    • The 1996 Act states that there should be up to 52 weeks (one year) of maternity leave entitled to the employee and one week of paternity leave at minimum.
  • Rest Breaks
    • Under the 1996 Act, an employee became entitled to both daily and weekly rest breaks. Daily they would be allowed 20 minutes break for every 6 hours worked
  • Notice of Dismissal
    • Under the 1996 Act, employees have a right to reasonable notice before their contracts can be terminated.
  • Long Service
    • Under the 1996 Act, employees who had worked for one business for an comprehensive period of time became entitled to different benefits. After 6 months employees were allowed to ask for flexible working. After 12 months they were able to ask for parental leave and after 24 months, if dismissed the employee could claim unfair dismissal.
  • Redundancy Payments
    • Under the 1996 Act, an employee that was made redundant was entitled to a sum of money if they had worked for the employer for 2 or more years.
  • Unfair Dismissal
    • Under the 1996 Act, employers had to give a reason for letting staff go. Unfair dismissal included requests for rights that were now afforded to employees under new legislation such as the right to ask for flexible working. If employees were dismissed on any of these grounds there could be an employment tribunal to state the case of unfair dismissal by the employer.
  • Employer Insolvency
    • Under the 1996 Act, if an employer or business became bankrupt and could not pay their employees the employees would be compensated by the government.
  • Disclosure and Detriment
    • Under the 1996 Act, there became a protection against detriment. This is suffering due to the disclosure of public information. It protects to employees regarding reporting criminal offence and failures of legal obligations as well as other instances such as health and safety violations. It does not give the employee the right to commit a criminal offence in disclosing such information.
  • Time Off and Suspension
    • Under the 1996 Act, employees were given the right to have time off for things such as jury duty and training without being penalised by an employer.

The Act helps to regulate the relationships between employees and employers and helps to lay out what can be expected from employees as well as what employers are allowed to ask of employees.

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