What does employment law cover?

Employment law is in place to protect both employers and employees, ensuring that they are safe, healthy, and treated fairly in the workplace. It can give just as much protection for both the employer and employee.

What is covered by employment law?

Employment law covers several aspects of the relationship between an employer and their employees. They are covered by regulations from a range of different bodies, each responsible for different parts of the employment law in the UK.

Age discrimination

Since 2006 it has been illegal to discriminate against someone with regards to their age in the UK. This includes discrimination against people for being both ‘too old’ and ‘too young’.

Decisions about employment and career progression must be made based on qualifications, competency, skills, potential, and the ability to do the job. Age-based decisions are only legally allowed when they are justified.

The regulations regarding age discrimination are now covered by the Equalities Act 2010 and guidance is published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Age discrimination is covered as one of the protected characteristics.

Bullying & harassment

The issues of bullying and harassment are covered in the Equalities Act 2010 and refer to repeated or single experiences that involve unwanted or unwelcome attention, physical contact, personal remarks, lack of involvement in social activities, coercion or pressure to be involved in something, personal insults, sexual harassment, and asking for unachievable tasks.

The 2010 Equalities Act stipulates that bullying and harassment are unlawful, and guidelines have been published by the EHRC.


When it comes to employment law, the term ‘disability’ refers to having a physical disability, mental illness, or long-term condition that has an impact that affects a person’s ability to carry out ‘normal everyday tasks’. It covers a wide range of conditions, but the main focus of the definition of a ‘disability’ is the person’s ability to function effectively at work.

The regulation of discrimination regarding disability was introduced by the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, which is now included in the 2010 Equalities Act. Disability discrimination is also one of the protected characteristics under the act.

Discrimination base on race, religion, sexuality, or gender

The law also stipulates that it is illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace on the ground of race, religion, sexuality, or gender.

Again, these are all covered as protected characteristics in the Equalities Act 2010 and guidelines have been published by the EHRC.

Dismissal & employee grievances

There can be times that grievances arise between employers and their employees, and it is important that they are treated consistently and fairly. When it comes to discipline, dismissal, and grievances, both parties must have procedures that support them, allowing for fair and just decisions.

The regulations surrounding dismissal and grievances are covered in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and a guide to these regulations can be found in the Acas Code of Practice: Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This is the minimum guide that all employers have to follow.

Employment Contracts

In the UK, the term ‘employee’ refers to a person who enters into a work contract of service or apprenticeship. A contract between an employer and employee should give details surrounding the relationship between the two parties.

All employers and employees have the right to have a written contract that outlines the details of the employment and important employment terms.

Equal pay

Equal pay usually refers to the gender pay gap and the rights of one person who is doing the same job as someone else to be paid the same amount of money. This is an issue that has been growing since the 1960s, but still sees a great deal of discrepancy in today’s society. It is therefore important that we have laws to support this issue.

The issue of equal pay is currency regulated through the 2010 Equalities Act with an Equal Pay Code of practice published by the EHRC.

Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage is a guaranteed rate of pay that employees must be paid at a minimum. This changes according to age and every employee who is aged 23 and over or an apprentice is eligible for the National Minimum Wage.

For those who believe that they are entitled to the National Minimum Wage but are not getting it, complaints can be made to HMRC or via an Employment Tribunal.

Parental Leave

Mothers, fathers, partners, and adoptive parents are entitled to paid parental leave or shared parental leave, and employers have a responsibility to support and retain employees who have parenting responsibilities.

Employers should have parental leave policies in place.

Employees have a statutory right to paid parental leave as well as unpaid parental leave and are also encouraged to incorporate other ‘family-friendly’ measures such as emergency time off to care for dependents and the right to request flexible hours.

These are stipulated under a range of different acts, including the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Employment Relations Act 1999, the Employment Act 2002, and the Work and Families Act 2006.


Redundancy can be a sensitive issue and can be rather complex. It is a type of dismissal activated by an employer when they need to reduce the number of people that they are employing or are closing their business.

When someone is being made redundant there are strict processes that must be followed, including notice periods and redundancy pay.

Working hours

Working hours legislation outlines the minimum requirements that relate to the amount of time that is spent working by employees. This includes the hours that must be worked as well as details about annual leave, rest entitlements, details about jury service, parental leave, trade union duties, and other aspects.

These regulations are managed through the Working Time Regulations 1998.

What role did the Employment Rights Act of 1996 play in this?

The 1996 Employment Rights Act is an act that was passed to ensure that all of the other employment law regulations were bought up to date with current expectations. It cemented the rights that employees were given into the law and all employers must follow this act.

Contact Waldrons solicitors

Whatever your family law query, get in touch with us here at Waldrons today.

More information on Employment Law for Employers

More information on Employment Law for Employees

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Maariyah Yacub who is a Solicitor