Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities (A brief guide)

Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilitie

In this guide, we will discuss the topic of fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities, employee rights such as having a written statement of terms, payment and wages, etc.

Also, we will talk about your employer’s duty of care in practice, how can your employer make your workplace safe and additional considerations.

Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities

Ensuring your employer fulfills their legal responsibilities:

  • Fair recruitment process
  • Written particulars of employment (contract)
  • Health and safety
  • Working Time Regulations and Holiday
  • Minimum Wage
  • Considering flexible working
  • Fair treatment to avoid discrimination 
  • Abiding by express and implied contractual terms
  • Terminating a contract fairly
Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities (A brief guide)

Subsequently, when employers in the UK fail to meet the standards and employment laws, they could face grievance and/or claims.

“An employer owes their employee the following duties, which again can be implied by the law or may be found in the employment contract.”

Some of them include the duty to pay the employee what they have agreed initially in their contract, provide the employee with a determined work to do, observe health and safety regulations, or give employees correct information about rights under their contract. We will discuss more of this later on. 

Employee rights

Asn an employee you have a wide range of rights and your employer must respect them.

Among them, employers have the responsibility of providing employees with a healthy and safe work environment, allowing them to belong to a trade union and providing pay statements.

In addition, if you are an expectant mother or you are a new mother, you are entitled to time off both before and after giving birth.

As indicated by lawdonut.co.uk “If they have been employed long enough, they also qualify for statutory maternity pay.

Similar rights apply to adoptive parents and new fathers.”

According to the employment law, employees are protected against discrimination on race, nationality/ethnic origin, age, disability, and religion/beliefs.

Also, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their sex or marital status, or on the grounds of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Subsequently “Employers can also be held liable for any discrimination or victimization by their employees or visitors to their premises.

Disgruntled employees may well try to claim illegal discrimination; an employment tribunal can award unlimited damages.”

Employers very often dismiss an employee with depression or any other mental issue, which is totally unacceptable and unfair.

Employees don’t raise voice against it because they are unaware of their own rights.

Therefore, an employee rights mentioned above should be known to everyone.

The written statement of terms

As stated by Simpkins & Co Solicitors, “The Employment Rights Act states that an employer must provide their employees with a minimum of a written statement of terms.

In many cases, this statement of terms is presented in the form of a contract of employment.”

Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities (A brief guide)

When we start new employment we want things to be clear and we want to know what to expect from our employer.

This statement of terms should be issued by your employer at the start of the employment and it should include information such as holiday/sickness arrangements, hours of work, overtime rules (if applicable), date of the start of the agreement, which wages are paid and how much, disciplinary and grievance procedures, among others. 

If as an employee you are not provided with a written statement within the first month of employment, you are entitled to apply to the employment tribunal to seek clarification of what should have been included within the terms. 

Work and Pay Wages

As employees, we work in exchange for a monetary reward or commonly known as our wages.

This is your employer’s legal duty to comply with National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. 

In addition, it is also required to make relevant statutory payments for maternity, paternity, adoption, and sickness, guaranteeing they get paid as appropriate.

Your employer’s duty of care in practice

According to nidirect.gov.uk, independently of the size of their business, employers must:

  • Make sure the workplace is safe for their employees
  • Prevent any possible risks to an employee’s health
  • Ensure the facilities and machinery operated by the employee are safe to use
  • ensure safe working practices are set up and followed
  • make sure that all materials are handled, stored and used safely
  • provide adequate first aid facilities
  • tell you about any potential hazards from the work you do – chemicals and other substances used by the firm – and give you information, instructions, training and supervision as needed
  • set up emergency plans
Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities (A brief guide)
  • make sure that ventilation, temperature, lighting, toilet, washing and rest facilities all meet health, safety and welfare requirements
  • check that the right work equipment is provided and is properly used and regularly maintained
  • prevent or control exposure to substances that may damage your health
  • take precautions against the risks caused by flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation
  • avoid potentially dangerous work involving manual handling (and if it can’t be avoided, take precautions to reduce the risk of injury)
  • provide health supervision as needed

How can employers make the workplace safe and healthy?

Employers should make sure that the facilities are properly ventilated, with clean and fresh air.

Also, they need to ensure the temperatures are kept at a comfortable level, keep the workplace and equipment clean, areas are big enough to allow easy movement, provide their employees with stations that suit them, among others. 

Even though we have mentioned how to make physical workplace space safe and the measurements that are needed to make sure the employee feels safe and stays healthy, employers should also prioritize their employee’s mental health performing risk assessments to prevent illnesses.

Supporting mental health in the workplace

As we just mentioned, employers should give priority also to their employee’s mental health in the workplace.

Many employers do not take mental health seriously and this is when they start to have a higher absenteeism rate and turnover.

This ends up being very costly for businesses due to sick leave absence and not being able to retain their employers.

There are many types of mental health illnesses and they can appear suddenly, due to a specific event or stressor, or it can actually build gradually over time.

The most common mental health issues are: 

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Some of the less common mental health illnesses include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder 

What if I’m discriminated against and I have a disability?

Mental health issues can be considered a disability under the law if (acas.org.uk):

  • it has a ‘substantial adverse effect’ on the life of an employee (for example, they regularly cannot focus on a task, or it takes them longer to do)
  • it lasts at least 12 months or is expected to
  • it affects their ability to do their normal day-to-day activities (for example, interacting with people, following instructions or keeping to set working times) 
Fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities (A brief guide)

However, even if there are no symptoms present all the time or they get better during periods of time, a mental health issue still can be considered a disability.

Employers have the duty to avoid discrimination due to their disability and must consider making reasonable adjustments.

Supportive environment

We know talking about mental health can be a sensitive topic for many people, but employers should encourage talking openly about mental health and making sure employees are aware of how important it is.

Moreover, employers could consider creating an environment where their employees can talk freely and openly about mental health.

This can reduce the number of times employees spend off work due to mental health issues and can even create a culture that sensitizes and creates awareness for people to treat physical and mental health equally. 

Employees who worry about having an insecure future and income ask what happens if i loose an employment tribunal.

Why is this blog about fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities important?

This blog about fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities is important because it can shed some light on the duties and responsibilities employers have towards employees.

Many employees do not know this type of information and due to misinformation, do not know how to act under certain situations such as unfair dismissal or being discriminated against. 

Moreover, employees sometimes do not know they have certain benefits when being employed such as the statutory sick pay or paternity leave, and have the right to discuss this with their employers.

Also, remember how important it is as an employer not only to ensure your employees’ workplace is safe in terms of the physical aspect of it but also in terms of your mental health. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fulfilling employment law employer responsibilities

What are the responsibilities of the employer?

The responsibilities of the employer under the employment law are to protect the health, the safety of, and welfare of the employees and other people who might be affected by their business.

What are the rights and responsibilities of employers?

Some of the employer’s rights and responsibilities include:

Paying employees at least the national minimum wage.

Provide employees with an itemized payslip that details the pay and deductions if any.

Providing employees with a clean and safe work environment.

Offer employees at least a 10 minute rest period if they have a working schedule longer than six hours a day.

Provide paid holiday each year.

Give employees at least a one-week dismissal notice if the employee has been with the company for longer than 1 month but less than 2 years.

What does the employment law cover?

The employment law covers the rights, obligations, and responsibilities as long as the contractual relationship between employer-employee is maintained.

It also covers wages, workplace safety to discrimination, wrongful termination, among other topics in between.

What does the employee owe the employer?

An employee owes their employer their mental and emotional energy invested in their work, your employer owes you the same.

Moreover, the employee needs to make sure they follow the policies and procedures established by their employer.

What are the 3 basic employment rights for a worker?

The 3 basic employment rights for a worker are:

Every worker has rights and the right to know them.

They have the right to participate.

The right to refuse to work in an unsafe work environment.

References 

Ms-solicitors.co.uk: “Employer Rights & Responsibilities”

Lawdonut.co.uk: “Employment law”

Nidirect.gov.uk: “Employers’ health and safety responsibilities”

Simpkinsand.co.uk: “Your Duties and Obligations As An Employer”

Acas.org.uk: “Supporting mental health in the workplace”

Compactlaw.co.uk: “What obligations/duties does the employer owe to the employee?”

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.