Protecting yourself at work is something that everyone needs to do. However, it can be even more important for parents because you have a family to support. You need to be aware of your legal rights at any time, but when you’re a parent, you often need to take certain factors into consideration. Parenting can require you to leave work suddenly or need to take time off, among other things. All mums and mums-to-be should be aware of their rights at work, and so should dads. Here are some of the rights you have that you should be familiar with.
General Working Rights
There are plenty of working rights that apply to everyone, but that are especially relevant to women. Women are more likely to work on a “zero-hours contract” – 52% of people on zero-hours contracts are women. Women are also much more likely than men to work part-time – nearly three-quarters of part-time workers are women. Because some working rights are affected by the hours you work, such as statutory holiday time, it’s important to be aware of which rights you have. For example, for each day you work in a week, you are entitled to 5.6 days of paid holiday if you’re a permanent employee.
Anyone can be discriminated against in the workplace due to their gender, age, race or ethnicity, disability, religion, or marital status. The 2010 Equality Act is an important piece of legislation to be aware of if you want to know how to spot and combat discrimination at work. The law bans discrimination based on a number of factors in the workplace and during the recruitment process. Women should also be aware that discrimination due to pregnancy is illegal, and that potential employers can’t ask about pregnancy during interviews. Discrimination can be direct or indirect, as well as including harassment and victimisation.
Maternity and Parental Rights
It’s also important to know about the law surrounding maternity and parenting. Maternity leave and maternity pay are both required under the law for employees counted as workers. This doesn’t include agency workers, casual workers, or anyone on a zero-hours contract. Your statutory maternity leave rights include up to a year’s leave. You must take at least two weeks off, or four if you work in a factory. If your average pay before tax is more than £113 a week, your employee must pay you maternity pay. You might get contractual maternity pay instead, or possibly maternity allowance if you can’t get maternity pay.
Flexible Working Rights
Flexible working is also a common choice for parents. It includes any changes to your normal working hours, including flexitime, working from home, or job sharing. Many mums choose flexible working because it makes parenting and working more manageable. You might be entitled to make a statutory request for flexible working, which must be negotiated using a certain process under the law. You need to be an employee who has worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks.
You should always be knowledgeable about your rights at work. Keep up to date with any changes so that you know what challenges you might face.