Employment rights

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Whilst at work, you have rights to protect you, whether you are the employee of a company or of an employment agency.

Pay and conditions

  • You should receive a written 'contract' or statement of employment particulars within two months of starting work. This should for outline for example your hours of work, pay, and holiday entitlement.
  • Workers over the age of 16 are entitled to National Minimum Wage. National Minimum Wage varies depending on your age and whether you're an apprentice. Find out the current National Minimum Wage.
  • At 18 you can be asked to work a maximum of 48 hours a week (though you can opt to work more or less if you wish)

Equality and discrimination

It is illegal for your employer to discriminate (directly or indirectly) against you because of your race, religion, nationality, sex, sexuality, disability, age, or because you work part-time. If you feel you are being discriminated by anybody at work, you should speak to your manager or your employer. You can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for information and advice about about discrimination and employment rights.


  • If you become pregnant, you have certain rights to protect you. It is illegal to discriminate against you because you are pregnant. Discrimination during pregnancy includes being made redundant or being sacked solely because of your pregnancy or giving you different or unsuitable work
  • You have the right to paid time away from work for ante-natal care
  • 52 weeks of Maternity Leave

Health and safety

  • You have the right to work in an environment where risks to your health and safety are properly controlled
  • Employers have a duty to make sure that your workplace is safe and without risks (you need also to play a part as well)
  • You should be given proper training and safety equipment if you are doing anything that could be dangerous and you should not be made ill by anything your are doing
  • Not everything rests on the employer – as an employee you have to take care at work and make sure that equipment is used correctly.

You can find out more about your employment rights in the Young People's Survival Guide.

This is only a brief guide to your rights. You can also visit: