For  employers

Good employers treat their employees fairly, and reward them for the part they play in an organisation’s success. The first step is knowing your rights and responsibilities as an employer. Employment law can be complicated, so if you need advice or information, call our Service Centre on 0800 389 6332.

Full and part time staff

We know that most employers want to do more than the minimum for their employees and workers. As a union we are always looking to work with employers to improve productivity and improve terms and conditions for our members.

But just so you’re clear on what the minimum requirements are we’ve set them out below.

As an employer you must give employees:

  • A written statement of employment or contract
  • The statutory minimum level of paid holiday
  • A pay slip showing all deductions
  • The statutory minimum length of rest breaks
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Maternity, paternity and adoption pay and leave

You must also:

  • Make sure employees don’t work longer than the maximum allowed
  • Pay employees at least the minimum wage
  • Have employer’s liability insurance
  • Provide a safe and secure working environment
  • Register with HM Revenue and Customs to deal with payroll, tax and NICs
  • Consider flexible working requests
  • Avoid discrimination in the workplace
  • Make reasonable adjustments to your business premises if your employee is disabled
Fixed-term employees

Fixed-term employees must receive the same treatment as full-time permanent staff. (See above.)

Fixed-term contracts will normally end automatically when they reach the agreed end date. You don’t have to give any notice. However, if a contract isn’t renewed, it is considered a dismissal. If they have worked with you for a year or over, they have the right to a to a written statement explaining why you are not renewing the contract.

After two years of service, you may also need to pay statutory redundancy payments, if the reason for non-renewal is redundancy.

Early termination of a fixed term contract depends on the terms of your working contract. However, fixed term employees do have the right to a minimum notice period of:

One week, if they’ve worked continuously for at least one month
One week for each year they’ve worked, if they’ve worked continuously for two years or more

If an employee continues working past the end of a contract without it being formally renewed, there’s an ‘implied agreement’ by the employer that the end date has changed. You will need to give proper notice if you then want to dismiss the worker.

Any employee on a fixed-term contract for 4 or more years will automatically become a permanent employee, unless you can show there is a good business reason not to do so. However, an employer and unions (or a staff association) may make a collective agreement that removes the automatic right to become a permanent employee in these circumstances.

Agency staff

As an employer, you can hire temporary staff through agencies. This means:

  • You pay the agency, including the employee’s National Insurance contributions (NICs) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
  • It’s the agency’s responsibility to make sure workers rights under working time regulations are respected.
  • After 12 weeks’ continuous employment in the same role, agency workers are entitled to the same terms and conditions as permanent employees; including pay, working time, rest periods, night work, breaks and annual leave.
  • You must provide the agency with information about the relevant terms and conditions in your business, so that they can ensure the worker gets equal treatment after 12 weeks in the same job.
  • You must allow agency workers to use any shared facilities (e.g. a staff canteen or childcare) and give them information about job vacancies from the first day they work there.
  • You are responsible for their health and safety.



If you hire a freelancer, consultant or contractor it means that:

  • They are self-employed or are part of other companies
  • They often look after their own tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs)
  • They might not be entitled to the same rights as workers

However, you are responsible for their health and safety.

Zero Hours contracts

In a Zero Hour contract, an employer does not guarantee any hours of work at all.

Zero Hour contracts have been widely abused in the UK workforce. We believe that employers should ensure that Zero Hour contracts are only used for genuinely ‘on-call’ roles – for example an interpreter.

If you do have a genuine requirement for a worker to be on a Zero Hour contract, you should be aware that the following rules apply:

  • Zero Hours contracts normally mean there is no obligation for employers to offer work, or for workers to accept it.
  • Most Zero Hours contracts will give staff 'worker' employment status.
  • Zero Hours workers have the same employment rights as regular workers, although they may have breaks in their contracts, which affect rights that accrue over time.
  • Zero Hours workers are entitled to annual leave
  • Zero Hours workers are entitled to the National Minimum Wage
  • A worker on a Zero Hours contract has the right to accept work from other sources at any time.
  • You are responsible for health and safety of staff on Zero Hour contracts