Both employers and employees have certain rights and responsibilities towards each other. Some will apply to everyone in the workplace, while others will be dependent on the individual’s working status.
Most workers - whether part-time or full-time - are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave. Employers can set the times of the year that leave needs to be taken and workers must give the employer notice when they want to take leave.
There are differences between ‘employees’, ‘workers’ and ‘contractors’. These differences in status can affect their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
When there is an issue in the workplace, employers and employees have a number of options and steps they can take to resolve it, ranging from informal conversations to formal processes and procedures.
There is lots to think about when starting a new job, or when hiring new staff. It is important that there are good processes in place so that everyone meets their responsibilities and everyone’s rights are protected.
When employment contracts end through resignation, retirement, dismissal or redundancy, there are rights and responsibilities for both the employer and employee.
Pregnant employees are entitled to up to one year’s maternity leave. Paternity leave is available if certain criteria are met. Parents are also entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave for each child up to their 18th birthday.
The Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 defines a trade union as “an organisation (whether permanent or temporary) which … consists wholly or mainly of workers of one or more descriptions and is an organisation whose principal purposes include the regulation of relations between workers … and employers or employers’ associations.
The hours we work and the pay we receive for that work are two key factors when it comes to job satisfaction, feeling fulfilled, challenged and rewarded. It is important that record keeping systems are robust, policies and communication about breaks and benefits are clear, and that people know their rights and responsibilities.
Problems can arise in any workplace. Below are some examples, though not an exhaustive list. Employers, employees and their representatives may find it helpful to refer to the Labour Relations Agency's codes of practice, sample letters, flowcharts and guides. Our service is confidential and all our resources are free of charge to anyone working to prevent or resolve a workplace issue in Northern Ireland.