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Frequently Asked Questions

Employment Rights Legislation

The Equality Act 2010 and Discrimination

What does the Equality Act do?

The Act covers discrimination for the following nine "protected characteristics" - age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
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To whom does the Act apply?

The Act applies to all employers and anyone providing a service (for instance organisations that provide goods or facilities to the public) or exercising a public function. It also applies to anyone running a private club or association.
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What is unlawful discrimination under the Act?

There are a number of different types of discrimination under the Act, as follows:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Associative discrimination
  • Perceptive discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Discrimination arising from disability


What is the public sector equality duty?

Public bodies such as local government, the NHS and those carrying out public functions are under a duty to consider equality when making day to day decisions both in terms of service delivery and employment. This consists of a general duty and specific duties.
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What are the employment rights to which workers are entitled under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 for:

  • Discrimination – Religion and Belief
  • Discrimination – Disability
  • Discrimination – Race
  • Discrimination – Sex Discrimination
  • Discrimination – Sexual Orientation Discrimination
  • Discrimination – Age Discrimination


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Unfair Dismissal and Redundancy

What is Redundancy?

The law says there is a redundancy situation if an employee is dismissed because the business as a whole, or the particular workplace where the employee worked, has closed down. Likewise, if the employer decides to reduce the size of the workforce to do work of a particular kind.
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What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is a statutory right giving employees with one year's service the right to complain to an Employment Tribunal that they have not been treated fairly or reasonably by their employer.
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What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is when an employee resigns in response to a fundamental breach of their contract of employment by their employer. These cases are hard to win. Not every breach of contract will entitle an employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
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Maternity and Pregnancy

What laws protect pregnant women and women on maternity leave?

There are a number of legislative provisions giving protection to pregnant women and women on maternity leave.
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How long is maternity leave?

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer or how many hours they work per week.
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Who is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)?

SMP is the money paid by an employer to a pregnant woman for up to 39 weeks if she satisfies the qualifying conditions.
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Working Time Regulation 1998

What are the basic rights to which workers are entitled to under the Working Time Regulations 1998?

  • 28 days' paid annual leave per year.
  • An average 48 hours a week working limit.
  • A limit of 8 hours (average) work in a 24 hour period for night workers.
  • Free health assessments for night workers.
  • 11 hours rest in a 24 hour period.
  • 24 hours rest per week.
  • Rest breaks for those who work more than six hours.


Who is covered?

The Regulations apply to just about all workers as well as employees, apart from the self employed (people who run their own business and are free to work for different clients).
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