Help & Advice - Employment
The national Citizens Advice website contains up to date information about a range of employment issues. To access the site, click here.
10 things your boss shouldn’t say
If you hear any of these, get advice:
1. “You work for us, but you’ll need to pay your own national insurance contributions.”
2. “We can’t afford to pay you any more - you’ll have to go self-employed.”
Being asked to pay your own national insurance or to go self employed when nothing has changed are signs of ‘bogus self employment’ - where your boss claims you are self-employed but you’re not.
This saves employers money as they don’t pay national insurance on your wage - or need to pay you minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay or maternity pay either. Check your employment status -if you think you are an employee, ask to be treated like one. Get advice on how to approach the conversation.
3. “Your disability means you don’t do as much work as others, so we’re not going to pay you minimum wage.”
4. “You were traveling between clients - so we didn’t pay you for those hours.”
Every employee should get national minimum wage, and you should be paid for all the time you spend at work. HMRC can help resolve problems with underpayment - Citizens Advice can guide you on next steps.
5. “You’re pregnant? Great! But we’re worried you won’t cope so we’re cutting your hours.”
6. “You’re having a baby next year? We’ll need to take you off that important project now.”
Your working arrangements during pregnancy should stay the same unless you ask for a change - any changes imposed on you are discrimination. Let your boss know that you want to continue work as normal, and if they insist on changes get advice.
7. “We don’t have to pay you redundancy pay because you’re on a zero hours contract.”
Wrong - some zero hours workers are entitled to redundancy pay. You need to have been working for your employer for two years or more, usually doing at least one shift a week. Citizens Advice can help you work out if you qualify.
8. “We need to close for the next two days for stock taking, so you’ll need to take holiday.”
If your employer needs you to take holiday, they should give you twice as much notice as the length of holiday needed. If you aren’t given proper notice, you should be paid and not asked to use leave. ACAS can liaise with both parties to resolve problems with leave if a discussion with your employer doesn’t work.
9. “You work through an agency, so you don’t get sick pay.”
Agency workers should be paid sick pay by the agency. Check if you qualify for sick pay and work out your next steps.
10. “We took you off the rota, so we don’t owe you sick pay.”
If you’ve already agreed to work the hours and you’ve been absent long enough to qualify, you should get sick pay.
ACAS has guidance on holidays and holiday pay available here .
For advice on pension rights, see the benefits section.
The first step would be to try and resolve things informally with your employer, although you do have the option of raising a formal grievance if you so wish. The Citizens Advice website has further information on problems at work
If you wish to raise a grievance, they also have a useful tool to help you write a grievance letter:
If you feel that you are being discriminated against at work, it would be advisable to follow the same steps for bullying and harassment to begin with (see section above). However, discrimination is potentially illegal and could give rise to grounds for an Employment Tribunal claim as well.
For further information on discrimination, see the Citizens Advice website here
In most cases, the best way to challenge disciplinary action will be to submit an appeal. Citizens Advice has guidance here on how to make an appeal.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, it may be possible for you to take matters further and bring an Employment Tribunal claim, however you should seek specialist advice on this first.
Employees with at least 2 years’ continuous service will usually be eligible for statutory redundancy pay. A free redundancy pay calculator is available here on the official Government website.
Don’t forget that redundancy pay is payable in addition to any notice pay, holiday pay and wages that may be owed.
Suspension from work is not a form of disciplinary action in itself – it is commonly used by employers to remove employees from the workplace whilst they carry out investigations.
If you have been invited to a disciplinary meeting, further guidance is available here on the Citizens Advice website
The official Government website has a dedicated section on self-employment and setting up your own business: www.gov.uk/business
A range of support is available to businesses, from networking and training opportunities to help with finding suitable premises.
For more information:
Blackpool Council website
Wyre Borough Council website
Citizens Advice have produced a factsheet on what to do in this situation:
ACAS has useful guidance on changes to employment contracts and the main issues involved. Click here.