Your Rights and Responsibilities in Work

What you are entitled to and are expected to do.

Becoming employed means that you assume a number of rights and responsibilities. Here is a brief overview:

Some of these topics may also be covered in your induction to your new workplace in the first few weeks of work.

Your rights

Your rights at work include your basic human rights, contract of employment, pay including the National Minimum Wage, holidays and holiday pay, sick leave, parental rights and flexible working. You can familiarise yourself with the law covering these topics by visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Understanding your first payslip

Your payslip may either be on paper, sent to you by email or be available through a secure website. To get a good understanding of what all the deductions in your pay are please take a look at the information available on the Money Advice Service website.

Equality rights

Your equality rights provide you with the right to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against because of your age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

More information can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

Disability rights

If you are a disabled person, you have disability rights that protect you from discrimination. Employers are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ when recruiting someone with a disability. However, the changes required will vary depending on the size of the employer and what is sensible for them.

Mental health-related problems are considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on your normal day-to-day duties. Again, your employer is required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that you are not disadvantaged compared to non-disabled people. The Mind website has more help and guidance.

Health & safety

All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Employers have the primary responsibility for the health and safety of their workers and visitors.

As an employee, you also have responsibilities for taking care of your own safety, and of your colleagues, where they may be affected by your actions. Employers are responsible for ensuring you are aware of their arrangements for health and safety in your workplace and will usually cover these in your first week at work as part of your induction.

You might like to read the basics of health and safety before you start. Employees must co-operate with employers and colleagues to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

Criminal convictions

Everyone deserves a second chance in their career. There are a number of websites with free, detailed resources that explain your rights and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. For example, Nacro or Unlock: the Information Hub.


Unions are a group of workers organised together to work towards better working conditions. Union members get together to talk about what’s going on and topics such as pay, pensions, safety at work, unfair treatment, or perhaps the way work is organised.

Union members usually elect a rep who - as a volunteer - takes any concerns to the employers and on occasions helps with individual concerns. It is an individual employee’s choice as to whether they choose to join a union or not.

Our Advisers’ Top Tips – Your Rights and Responsibilities at Work

Make sure you have a broad understanding of your rights at work and to know that some of the rules don’t always apply to all work.

It’s important to know your responsibilities within the law as much is it is to know your rights. You have responsibility for your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues.

Understand your financial matters – your pay, your deductions, your tax, your Basic State Pension contributions and your entitlement to employer pension contributions.