Employment Laws in the United Kingdom Essay

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The author of this report will offer a summary of two important laws and regulations when it comes to employment in the United Kingdom. Those two pieces of law will be the Employment Rights Act of 1996, commonly known as ERA 1996, and the Equality Act of 2010, commonly known as the EA 2010. For both laws, the particulars, specifics and common requirements for all parties involved, both employee and employer, will be covered. While the two laws covered in this report were pass nearly a generation apart, both of them hold a very important place in the employment law paradigm in the United Kingdom.

Employment Rights Act of 1996

Scope & Summary

There are several important requirements and regulations when it comes to the Employment Rights Act of 1996. When an employee starts work with an employer, they are obligated to get a summary of terms and requirements. As stated by the law itself, there are five main requirements lettered one through five. First, an employer is to give the employee a written statement with the particulars about the employment contract and duties. The statement, as mentioned in the first requirement, may be given in installments but the entirety of the employment details and contract have to be extended and given to the employee within two months of beginning employment. The details that must be covered in these "particulars" include the name of the employer, the date that employment began and the date on which the employee's period of continuous employment began. There are other details that can and must be covered. These include the scale or rate of pay that is in question for the job and/or the formula that shall be used to calculate the same, the interval by which the pay must be extended (e.g. monthly, weekly, etc.) and the terms and conditions that relate to the hours of work. The latter would include what defines "normal" working hours and so forth. Other things that can and should be covered include the holiday entitlement and restrictions that will be in play, what will happen if a worker cannot work due to sickness and such and the way (if any) that the employee will be paid when it comes to pensions. Beyond that, there will be other requirements explained including the length of notice that an employee must give when it comes to terminating their contract with the employer, the job title that will apply to the employee, the length of the job to be held by the employee if the position is not perpetual and ongoing in nature and so forth. Also important is the location or locations that an employee will be working at up to and including the actual street addresses that are in question. If the employee is required, in whole or in part, to work outside of the United Kingdom, there will be a definition of how long that will last, the currency that will be used to pay the employee, any additional compensation or remuneration due to the employee as a result of working on foreign assignment and the terms and conditions that pertain to the employee's return to the United Kingdom (United Kingdom 2016).

In section two of the requirements about the "particulars" that must be extended to the employee, there is a discussion of the supplementary laws. These include a few ancillary things that employers must abide by. As one might expect, the common law duties and requirements that are contained within this law mostly protect the employee rather than the employer. However, this is commonplace in the law as employers are often more powerful and thus have more ability to abuse protections within the law. As far as those requirements and safeguards go, the second section of the law pertains entirely to the protection of wages. In order, the employer cannot deduct from an employee's wages without authorization but there are deductions that are "expected" and normal in nature. Taxes would be a good example of the latter. Beyond that, it is generally held that the employee may not be required to make payments to the employer, although there are exceptions in the sixteenth section of the second part. There is also verbiage that pertains to what happens when there are cash shortages and the like. There is also specific mention of enforcement and so forth when it comes to the letter of the law as mentioned above (United Kingdom 2016).

The third section of the ERA pertains to the guaranteeing of payments. The major points to take from this section is a description of the right to guarantee payments, exceptions that can be made when it comes to guaranteed payments, how these guaranteed payments may or must be calculated, limits on the amount and entitlement to these payments, payments that are made (or not made) under a contractual agreement, how guaranteed payment agreements can be modified, arbitration and complaint systems that may be used to resolve disputes and so forth. There is an entire section of the ERA dedicated to Sunday work and betting workers in the United Kingdom. Generally speaking, contracts are sometimes unenforceable or are modifiable under the law if they involve Sunday work. On top of that, if someone wishes to not work on Sunday due to religious objections, there are protections in place for people like that. The fifth section of the ERA relates to some life events that an employee may not be punished for if and when they arise. These life events include jury service, certain health and safety cases, working on Sunday (as mentioned above), working time cases, trustees for pension schemes, employee representation and a few others. As was mentioned before, employees have a right to make a complaint to employee tribunals so as to resolve disputes and gain resolution for any mistreatment under the ERA. There are protections for time off that very much dovetail with the above including public duties, looking for work, natal care for children, care for dependents and so forth (United Kingdom 2016).

Another important section of the ERA is the suspension from work section. The law addresses suspensions and acceptable treatment and remedies when it comes to medical suspensions, maternity suspensions and what is allowed to happen in situations involving temporary/agency workers. The eighth part of the ERA covers leaves that an employee may or may not be entitled to including maternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave, general parental leave, paternity leave and the like. There is also talk about flexible working arrangements and summaries including the statutory right to request a variation with one's contract, the employer's duties when it comes to the above and the complaint system for employees who feel that they are not being treated properly. The ninth part of the law pertains to termination of employment, which of course would be important for both employee and employers to know well. Details covered for both parties in that ninth section include minimum notice, the rights of employees in general when it comes to notice, how terminations must be handled when it comes to jobs with normal working hours, how they must be handled for jobs when there are not normal working hours, the extension of short-term incapacity benefits and so forth. There is also mention of the requirements when it comes to extending written reasons for dismissing a person and how complaints to employment tribunals can be handled (United Kingdom 2016).

The tenth section of the ERA 1996 is related to the ninth but deserves its own mention. In general, the tenth part is about unfair and unlawful dismissals and how they are handled. In general, employees have a right to not be unfairly dismissed from their employment. Section 95 describes the conditions under which an employee may be fired. There are specific exemptions relating to post-childbirth terminations and the effective date of such terminations. Generally, there are minimum fairness and equity standards that must be enforced. There are also safeguards for people that are within retirement age. Potentially unfair dismissals that are covered in section 98 through 107 of the tenth chapter include jury service, family reasons, fairness of procedures, flexible working arrangements, blacklists and so forth. The second chapter of that tenth section of the law all pertains to remedies for unfair dismissal and it is broken down by the awards, orders for reinstatement and the like. The remainder of the law is mostly housecleaning, interpretations and so forth relating to earlier sections in the law.


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