Just as much as you are entitled to a contract of employment, you must uphold your side of the deal too, by keeping to the terms and conditions of employment.
As an employee you must:
Carry out all lawful and reasonable orders
Give faithful and honest service and not display misconduct
Do your work with reasonable skill and care
Your employer must:
Take care for your safety
Pay the agreed wages
Not ask you to do anything unlawful
Provide work for you if you are on a piece rate (i.e. paid by the quantity of goods you produce)
Sick Or Late?
If you are sick or are going to be late, let your employer know as soon as possible. Call them, or get someone else to do it. It is important to notify your employer, especially if you are sick, as you may lose money otherwise.
If you are ill for some time, and not getting your usual wages, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
To qualify you have:
To have been sick for 4 or more working days in a row (note you are not paid for the first 3 days)
To have made the correct amount of NI contributions and you have to be earning at least £97 per week
To be able to provide medical evidence for time off ill – whether it’s a self-certificate which your employer may ask you to fill out or, after seven days, a doctor’s statement
SSP is paid to you by your employer who is, in turn, paid by the government. It is currently paid at a flat rate of £79.15 a week and can be paid for up to 28 weeks.
If you don’t get SSP, you should be given a SSP1 form explaining why from your employer. With this form you should apply for Employment and Support Allowance. Go to the DirectGov website for more details.
If you are turned down for Employment and Support Allowance you should consider applying for Income Support. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus office for more information.
Your employer may dismiss you without notice if you do something very serious (e.g. hitting a supervisor or stealing). In other instances, you should be given at least one week’s notice or a week’s pay instead. If your job ends for any reason except dismissal for bad conduct, the notice that is given, and the notice you give, must be what is written in your terms and conditions of employment.
Your employer has the right to sack you if you are often late, if you are often off sick, or if your behaviour is not what the employer expects for the job you are in (for example, if you are rude to customers). The procedure before dismissing you must be fair, and you must normally be given several warnings before you are sacked. This gives you a chance to change things.
If you feel that you have been dismissed unfairly, you can complain through a tribunal by going to the Employment Tribunal Service, but first seek advice from your union if you belong to one or a Citizens Advice Bureau.
You can find your nearest office from the Citizens Advice Bureau website (town/postcode search) or by phoning CAB on 0844 848 9600.
Employment Tribunals Sometimes things don’t work out with your employer, and you may feel they are not obeying the law. Always ask for advice on this, you can talk to someone at a Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you want to take things further then you can proceed with an Employment (or sometimes called an Industrial) Tribunal. This involves a presentation of your case, usually by someone representing you (such as a Welfare Officer, employment law specialist, trade union rep) to an impartial board of people, who will then decide if your employer has broken the law or not.
If you need more info, call the Employment Tribunal Service on 0845 7959 775. You can also check out the Employment Tribunal Service website, and this will give you details of where you can find your local office.
Health & Safety
An employer must ensure that you are safe and healthy in the workplace. Any accidents, no matter how small, must be reported to your supervisor, or Health & Safety Officer, and written in an ‘Accident Book’. This safeguards both employer and employee should the accident lead to more serious action, for example if someone is injured because of negligence and cannot continue to work.
If you are concerned about health and safety issues in your workplace, contact Health & Safety Executive on 0845 345 0055 (Mon to Fri 8am - 6pm). Or contact the Consumer Protection Department of your local council (in the phone book).
If you are off work due to an injury at work, check with your trade union or your local Citizens Advice Bureau, and find out more about benefits and compensation.
Joining A Union
If you are 16 and working, you are legally allowed to join a union. If you choose to join a trade union, it will advise you of your rights and help with any difficulties you have as an employee.
The union works for a fair deal for all workers in the workplace. To become a member you may have to pay a small fee or fraction of your wages. Ask other workers who your representative or shop steward is, find out more about the union, and decide if you want to join.
If there isn’t a trade union at your workplace and you would like to join one, contact the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively you can find out more about your rights and conditions of service by contacting Careers Scotland or visiting DirectGov.