A universally used legal concept to specify the relationship formed between an employee and an employer is known as employment. When an employee works for an employer under certain terms and condition and for a salary in return is known as the employment relationship. When an employment relationship commences, contracts are established, and rights are established between the employee and employer. The employment relationship is legalized with the help of a contract negotiated between the employees and the employers, which is governed by the employment law or labour law. The basic rule of labour or employment law is to safeguard the rights and duties of the employees and ensures that they are treated fairly. The employment law is based on the state and federal legislation, court opinion, administrative rules, and constitutions.
The impact of Employment Law
The employment law has a positive impact at the starting of the employment relationship if an employee gets benefits along with the protection of the employer’s rights. Employment law provides work satisfaction as they are paid for the work done by them. This helps in improving the relationship between an employer and the employees. A competitive salary makes an employee feel valued in the company.
The internal and external factors impacting the employment relationship
The two main internal factors affecting the employment relationship are: -
- Place of Employment- employees prefer to take a job near their residence. If the workplace is far with inconvenient transporting system then the employees will search for another job. It is important that the employers arrange transportation facility for the employees especially for those who live far away.
- Working Conditions- the working conditions include safe air, space, water supply, and lighting, air conditioning. Employer and employee relationship and relations with colleagues are also included in healthy working conditions. All these factors help the employee to be a part of the company and give its best.
The two main external factors affecting the employment relationship are:-
- Wage Rate- the amount of salary or the wage rate of an employee is a very important external factor, which may affect the employment relationship. Wage rate should be according to the industry. The low wage rate results in loosing skilled and efficient labour whereas a better wage rate attracts talented employees to the industry.
- Working circumstances of other companies- if the working environment is not friendly, then the employee will move to another company where working circumstances are in his favour.
The three main employment statuses are:-
Employee- any individual who is working under the terms of an employment contract is known as an employee. A person who works for an organization for terms like pay, working hours, annual leave is known as an employee of the organization. An employee receives employment benefits which are as follows:-
There are mainly three different types of employment status: -
- Detailed pay slip
- Minimum wage
- Holiday, paternity and maternity leave
Worker- an individual working under an employment contract who is personally carrying out the work is known as a worker. A worker performs the job allotted to him. Examples of workers are casual worker, seasonal worker, and agency workers.
The employment rights of a worker are: -
- Minimum wage according to minimum wage act
- Holiday pay
- Right of protection against discrimination
- Getting treated equally even if working as a part-time
Self Employed- a person who runs its own business is called a self-employed person. He takes a contract to complete a particular job. His responsibilities and rights vary from an employee or worker. The rights of a self-employed are: -
- Health and safety protection right on a client’s place
- Protection against discrimination
- Rights and responsibilities mentioned in the contract
Reasons to clarify employee’s employment status
There are two reasons to determine the importance to clarify an employee’s employment status, and they are: -
- The employees are acknowledged about the salary that they will get for the work done for the company.
- Estimation of payroll need to be paid to the employees at the end of the month can be done in advance.
Employee rights during the employee relationship
It is the employer’s duty to give the employee all his rights and benefits at the work place, and its employee’s responsibility to fulfil all the requirements mentioned in the employment contract.
The rights of an employee during employment relationship include the following: -
A written agreement that includes the terms and conditions of the employment relationship with the specifics of employees and employers is known as the contract.
Maximum working hours of an employee should not be more than forty-eight hours a week. Each employee will get a fifteen minutes break after a continuous work of four and a half hours and twenty minutes break if hours exceeds to six hours. An employee is entitled to receive a day off every week. During a period of 24 hours, an employee is entitled to rest for 11 consecutive hours. There are special provisions for regulating the working hours of the young workers. They are required to work only for 8 hours every day and a total of 40 hours every week. They are entitled to a 30 minutes break if they work for 4.5 hours and they are given weekly off for 2 days. The employers may work overtime either voluntarily or under compulsion. However, the employees are not entitled to be paid extra for working overtime. It is not mandatory for the employers to work on an average more than 48 hours every week unless they give it in writing which is known as an opt-out agreement. However, young employees cannot opt-out of the 48 hours of employment. The night shift is between 11 pm and 6 am and the night workers must work for atleast 3 hours during the night shift. However, the employees working in the night shifts must not work for more than 8 hours in a period of 24 hours over 17 weeks. The young employees are not permitted to work during the night but are subject to certain exceptions.
Almost every worker is entitled to receive a 5.6 weeks paid holidays every year known as ststutory leave or annual leave. Workers who work for 5 days in a week are entitled to receive 28 days paid annual leaves every year. The part time workers also receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid holidays every year.
Every employee working in a company is entitled to a yearly paid leave of four weeks every year.
Work-life balance and its importance and related legislation
The importance of work-life balance and legislation includes legislation that decides the holidays, night shifts, and rest periods. The working hours are fixed as per the government norms and rest period will also be included in it.
Family/Parent related legislation
The legislation in relation to the family and parents includes the support on the paternity leave, adoption leave, dependent leave, and maternity leave of absence as per the government norms; although females are eligible for a longer leave period.
- Maternity leave: Under the UK legislation, female employees are eligible to take maternity leave for 52 weeks. The initial 26 weeks are termed as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and the last 26 weeks are termed as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’. The employees may take 11 weeks leave before the expected week of the birth of the child. The statutory maternity pay may be paid to eligible employees for a period of 39 weeks.
- Paternity leave: An employee is entitled to receive paid paternity leaves for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Adoption leave: When an employee adopts a child or has a child through surrogacy, he is entitled to take adoption leave for a period of 52 weeks. The first week is called the Ordinary Adoption Leave and the last 26 weeks are called the Additional Adoption Leave.
- Dependants leave: An employee is permitted to to take time off work at the time of emergencies, which involves a dependant. A dependant may be a spouse, child, parents, grandchild, partner or anyone who is dependent on the employee for care. There are no fixed time- periods for taking time off to take care of the dependant. For example, if the employee’s child fall sick, the employee is allowed to take a leave to take the child to the doctor.
- Time-off from work for public duties-: employees are entitled to get time-off from work for discharging public duties as well. An employee may take a time-off if he is a magistrate, school governor, local councillor, etc. The employers may or may not pay the employees for the period they have taken for time-off. Employees who are agency workers, civil servants discharging political duties etc are not entitled to take time-off for public duties.
Fair treatment about pay
An employee has a right to fair treatment. This is explained through two reasons, and they are as follows:-
- To eliminate discrimination in terms of salary.
- Unequal pay is unethical and affects the morale of the employee;
The equalities legislation and its points
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits any type of discrimination. The act also prohibits harassment, promotion, dismissal, and training, experience, working conditions, recruitment and equal pay.
- Direct Discrimination: Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 states that direct discrimination takes place when an employee is treated less favourably than other employees on the grounds of race, gender, age or nationality. It takes place usually when people underestimates the employees based on their personal characteristics. For example, old employees are often refused training, as they are presumed to be too old to learn anything new.
- Indirect discrimination: Section 19 of the Act states indirect discrimination takes place when a particular policy of an organisation places an employee into a disadvantageous situation because of a particular religious belief or disability. Although the policy of the organisation ensures equal treatment to all the employees but it indirectly causes discrimination towards an employee based on their personal characteristics. For example a term in a contract requires the employees to travel all around UK for office work on short notice. This might place a woman employee at a specific disadvantage, as the employee has to look after her children.
- Harassment: Section 26 of the Act defines harassment at workplace as a breach of a person’s dignity. It creates an embarrassing, undignified and an unfriendly workplace environment. Sexual harassment is one of the most undignified harassment that can take place in an organisation. Such behaviour may include abusive and degrading jokes, physical or verbal gestures, etc. For example- When the co-workers make fun of an employee and make degrading and offensive comments and gestures on her physical appearance, it amounts to sexual harassment.
- Victimisation: According to section 27 of the Equality Act 2010, victimisation is another form of discrimination that may occur in an organisation. It includes a threatening that is given to any employee for claiming their rights under the law of equality or for helping any other person to make complaints or for refusing to do any discriminating and disrespectful act. When a person is subject to a detriment, it amounts to victimisation under the Act. For example- if an employee complaints against the employer for committing sexual harassment, the employee either is terminated or is denied any promotion.
The equality law aims at providing security and safety to people if they face victimization or harassment at their workplace. Such complaints will be heard, and actions will be taken to stop such practices.
The concept of the psychological contract
A psychological contract is about the relationship between an employer and the employees and the mutual expectations of the employee’s inputs and the results. A psychological contract creates a balance and brings fairness an determine how the employees are treated by the employer and what input does they give towards their job.
The examples of policies and procedure which can throw light on the concept of psychological contract are as follows: -
All genders working in an organization should be equally treated in the company and they are required to follow the rules established by the organization.
Suppose if I was the employer then from my point of view, the policies and procedures, which would support the psychological contract between the organisation and my employees, would include effort, commitment, compliance and loyalty. The policies and procedures that would have covered the employment relationship from the point of view of the employees would include employment security, equal and just treatment by the employers, opportunity to exhibit competence, expecting scopes for their skill development and active participation in the operation of the organization. It is highly imperative to maintain a fair psychological contract as it strengthens the relationship between the organizations and the employees.
Issues need to be considered at the end of the employment relationship
The issues and the facts that are needed to be added when discontinuation of an employment relationship happens are as follows: -
A month’s time should be minimally given to the employee to alert him about the job termination.
When the employee is terminated, all the payments and salary is finalized and paid to the employee. Fair reasons should be given to the employee for his termination.
The differences between unfair and fair dismissal
Fair dismissal is defined as the dismissal of employee’s employment for fair reasons along with or without termination notice. The employment law says that a fair reason should be given to the employee and it should be reasonable in all the conditions.
The contract of an employee can be terminated for the following reasons:-
- Any type of unreasonable behavior showed by the employee at the work place or with the fellow workers.
- Due to some legal obligations
If an employee is terminated for some unfair reasons like discrimination by cast, pregnancy, gender, religion, age, or sex then it is considered as unfair dismissal.
The main differences between fair and unfair dismissal are: -
When a fair dismissal takes place then proper facts are given to the employee and all the step for the dismissal are followed, whereas in unfair dismissal the reason are biased and taken under pressure or due to self-obsessed thoughts.
A notice regarding the termination is given to the employee at least a month before in case of a fair termination, whereas unfair dismissal is done on the spot.
All the payment and dues of the employees get cleared in the case of fair dismissal, whereas unnecessary and intended pay cuts are done in an unfair termination.
The importance of exit interview
An exit interview gives a chance to the company to know about the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. It is an important step as it helps in understanding what is required to be done to retain and satisfy the employees. An exit interview is a good chance for the employees also as they get a chance to keep their point in front of the management before leaving the organization.
Redundancies and its Key stages
The term redundancy can be explained as the termination of twenty or more employees from a single work place. For example: -
- When an employer does not want so many employees working on a particular task.
- If employees are reallocated to another task and a need of reorganization of employees is there.
- Alternative employment is offered to the employees but with new terms and conditions which need dismissal and reemployment of the employees.
The above-given reason is only applied to compulsory redundancies, but there is a “voluntary” redundancy also, especially where an employee has no other choice rather than. When an employer is not sure about enough number of volunteers, and still considering twenty or more redundancies, or when there is a chance of reducing the number of redundancies, then the employer is supposed to inform the Department of Business. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform will be applicable in such cases.
In case, the number of redundancy is less than twenty than there is no legal constraint to talk to employee representative or inform the Department. But in such cases, a risk of the employees claiming of unfair dismissal is there. If the employee do not get a proper notice regarding his dismissal, or employers have not applied for dispute resolution procedures at the time of requirement or no reasonable steps were taken to redundant employees and the adoption of a fair basis of selecting the employee is also not done.
The Key Stages and the Impact of Redundancies
The key stages that are required to be followed while managing redundancies are as follows: -
Step 1- Equal chance need to be given to the employee to prove their innocence
Step 2- Notice of termination is to be given so that employee can look for a new job
Step 3- Notice period of a month need to be given
Step 4- At the end of employment term, all the payments need to me made
Step 5- To know the ground reality an exit interview needs to be taken.
The impact of redundancy on the organisation:-
- Unfairness, mistrust could developed;
- The organisation may not function properly;
- Employees may suffer work pressure or feel being undervalued
- The frustration in the employees may decrease the output of the company.
For the smooth functioning of the company the employee and employer, relationship is a very important factor. An employment law considers the rights of an employer along with the protection of employee’s rights. These rights include working hours, leaves, equal pay, salary, and no discrimination.
When due to various reasons the employment relationship ends, proper steps are given by the employment law to end the relationship. It can be concluded that there are some stages that employment relationship has to go through from the starting till the end of it and all these steps help the company to function better and gain the confidence and faithfulness of its employees toward the company.