The new normal: Knowing your employment rights

Many employees have found work has changed beyond recognition as a result of the pandemic. The employment law team at Hegarty Solicitors offers advice to ensure you know your rights at work.

The new normal: Knowing your employment rights

Flexible Working 

As many people have adjusted to new ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic, this has prompted some to think about making a flexible working request to their employer as we exit lockdown. 


You can make a flexible working request for several different reasons such as; reducing hours to work part-time, changing start or finish times, working from home, compressing hours over fewer days, or job-sharing. Your employer must deal with such requests reasonably and within 3 months and can only turn down a flexible working request if there’s a valid business reason. 


You are entitled to make a flexible working request if: You are legally classed as an employee You have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks You have not made another flexible working request in the last 12 months 


Furlough Scheme 


October sees the end of the Government furlough scheme, with many workers returning to work. Employers must make the workplace ‘COVID-secure’ and as safe as possible for staff and customers. ACAS advises that employees and workers should be ready to return to work at short notice, but employers should be flexible where possible. Some employees may feel worried or anxious about returning to work and employers should listen to any staff concerns and take steps to reassure and protect staff. If an employee still does not want to return to work and refuses to attend work without a valid reason, it could result in disciplinary action. Some employers who are struggling financially may be unable to take employees back full time when furlough ends. 


In this case, employers may consider consulting with employees to create new employment terms such as reduced hours or pay. If there are any proposed changes that affect the written terms of someone's contract, the employer must consult with the employee, worker, or their representative, for example, their trade union representative. If you are faced with a change to your employment contract you should seek advice to ensure the changes are fair and within the law. 


Redundancies 


If you are being faced with redundancy and are worried about your rights it is always best to seek advice from an experienced employment lawyer from the outset. 


Employees with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age, and pay, up to a statutory maximum. 


For furloughed workers made redundant, the government introduced the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) Regulations 2020 to ensure furloughed employees receive redundancy payments at 100% of their normal pay, rather than the reduced furlough rate. The Hegarty Solicitors’ employment law team is experienced in dealing with employment issues, including redundancies, settlement agreements, unfair dismissal, and discrimination claims. Whatever your situation, we can help. 


For employment law, Martin Bloom on 01733 295 632 or email martin.bloom@hegarty.co.uk

For more information: www.hegarty.co.uk