Employment Laws in England

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Employment Laws in England
English employment law applies to all industries. (pelleteuse image by laurent davaine from Fotolia.com)

There are a wide range of employment laws in England put in place to protect the rights and entitlements of employees. England's employment laws are part of a wider framework of U.K. legislation. Pay, working conditions, time off, equality and workplace safety are some of the areas governed by specific employment laws.

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Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage in England was introduced in 1999. There are different minimum wages limits depending on the age of the employee. The minimum wage changes each year, normally increasing in line with inflation. As of July, 2010, the main rate minimum wage in England is £5.80 (US$8.98) per hour. This figure is scheduled to increase in October, 2010 to £5.93 (US$9.18). The main rate applies to people more than 22 years old; there are different rates for people under that age threshold.

Working Hours

Under U.K. law, employees in England can work as much or as little as they like. There are compulsory upper limits for certain employees, such as lorry (truck) drivers, but in general, it is up to the employer and employee to agree on contracted working hours. An employer can not force an employee to work more than 48 hours in one week. The employee can agree to work more than 48 hours if they wish, but employers can not fire someone who chooses not to. There are some industries that are exempt from this rule.

Time To Train

As of April, 2011, many employees in England are entitled to ask for time away from their main duties to train. This initiative applies to those working at organisations with more than 250 employees. It is not a right to be pursue training, but it is a right to ask for it.

Anti Discrimination and Equality

Many laws in England protect employees from discrimination and ensure equality in the workplace. It is illegal for employers in England to discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, ethnicity, disability or religion. Employment tribunals and criminal proceedings can be brought against any employer accused of workplace discrimination.

Health and Safety

Employers are obliged to provide health and safety training to minimise the risk of sickness or injury caused to employees in the workplace. The health and safety executive monitors workplace safety and best practice in England; they record and investigate all cases of workplace death and injury.

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