British Labour Law

British Labour Law

United Kingdom labour law involves the legal relationship between workers, employers and trade unions. People at work in the UK benefit from a minimum charter of employment rights. This includes the right to a minimum wage of £6.19 for over 21 year olds under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, 28 paid holidays and no longer than 48 working hours unless one consents under the Working Time Regulations 1998, the right to leave for child care, and the right to request flexible working patterns under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The Employment Rights Act 1996 adds that, unless the employee repudiates the relationship, before a dismissal every employer must give reasonable notice after one month of work, backed by a sufficiently fair reason after one year of work, and with a redundancy payment after two years. If a company is taken over the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 state that employees' terms cannot be worsened, including to the point of dismissal, without a good economic, technical or organisational reason.

Beyond individual rights, workers have the ability to participate in decisions about how their enterprise is managed through a growing set of statutory rights and the traditional models of collective bargaining. Gradually, the number of "John Lewis" style participatory institutions at work have grown, often mirroring European standards. Workers have the right to codetermine how their occupational pensions are managed under the Pensions Act 2004, and how health and safety policies in the workplace are formulated under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In larger firms with over 50 staff, workers must be informed and consulted about major economic developments, particularly about business difficulties. This is happens through a steadily increasing number of works councils, which usually must be requested by staff. The UK has not yet implemented earlier proposals, or followed the majority practice in the EU to require that employees have a vote for members' of their company's board of directors. Collective bargaining between trade unions and company management remains the UK's primary participatory model. Collective agreements are backed up by the threat of a strike which is lawful if "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". Since the early 1980s, industrial action has steadily decreased, as has membership of trade unions. The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 sets out rules for the constitution of trade unions, members' rights, the conditions to be fulfilled before strike action may be taken and the legal status of collective agreements.

Read more about British Labour Law:  History, Employment Rights and Duties, Workplace Participation, Equality, Job Security, Enforcement and Tribunals, International Labour Law

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