The main goal of CESI.org.uk is to improve employment opportunities and knowledge of employee’s rights in the workplace which is achieved by providing the following:
- Promote social inclusion in the employment market
- Provide information on Benefits, how they work and eligibility
- Provide information on Health and Safety in the workplace
- Provide information on employee’s rights in the workplace
- Provide advice on redundancies, dismissals and disciplinary actions
- Provide information on upcoming events and conferences on recruitment and employment opportunities
Inclusion – Diversity in the Workplace
Supporting and promoting workplace diversity is key to good employee management because recognising everyone’s value within a business is all-important. A work environment must be a place where workers feel that their participation in an organisation is vital. It helps ensure employees achieve their full potential which in turns improves engagement and productivity.
Under UK law people are protected from being discriminated against because of a disability, their religion, race, sex, sexual orientation and their gender among other protected characteristics. However, social inclusion covers more than just the legal aspects regarding compliance. The strategy’s goal is to add “value” to a business, organisation or company by ensuring employee engagement and well-being in the workplace.
The Civil Service incorporates diversity and inclusion by focusing on two key points:
The Civil Service diversity and inclusion plan focuses on 2 key aims which are as follows:
- To increase representation of under-represented groups at every level
- To place focus on “inclusion” with an end goal being to build a reputation and culture that helps develop, attract and retain talent across the organisation
Building a more inclusive and fairer workplace is essential because employees and people matter. Making sure that no group is put at a disadvantage in the workplace is an essential part of creating an inclusive work environment. In short, everyone deserves the chance to develop their talents and skills so they can achieve their full potential in a safe and inclusive work environment. People must be recognised and rewarded for the work they do for an organisation, business or employer.
Creating an inclusive work environment is also crucial when it comes to an organisation’s sustainability as well as the economy. It is a win-win situation where everybody benefits from sharing ideas and the different ways people who come from a variety of backgrounds work. The result is that people learn, grow and are able to reach their full potential in the workplace by boosting engagement.
Benefits: How They Work and Eligibility
There are various benefits which you may be entitled to receive which are as follows:
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Universal Credit
- Tax credits
- Child Benefit
- Housing Benefit
Eligibility – Income Support
People are only allowed to make new claims for Income Support for the following reasons:
- They are receiving or have only recently stopped receiving a benefit associated with as severe disability premium – SDP
Another criteria that must be met is that claimants are 16 years old or older and meet the following:
- Are pregnant
- A carer
- A single parent who is taking care of a child who is under the age of 5
- A refugee who is learning English
- Aged 21 or under and who is without parent support and not in advanced education
- Work less that 16 hours per week – people who do unpaid voluntary work or who take unpaid paternity or parental leave may be eligible
- Are under the Pension Credit qualifying age
- On low incomes or no incomes
- Do not have savings that add up to over £16,000
For people who do not meet the criteria above, they may be entitled to receive Income Support if the following applies:
- Are unable to work because they a carer or disabled
- Are off work and receiving Statutory Sick Pay – SSP, Severe Disablement Allowance or Incapacity Benefit
- Are aged 16 to 20 and are in full-time education or training except university
Eligibility – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
People can claim Employment and Support Allowance – ESA if they are under the State Pension age and have a disability or medical condition that negatively impacts their ability to work. People may apply for ESA if they are working or not working. However, people may not receive ESA if they get the following:
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
It is worth noting that the majority of new claims fall under the category of “new style” ESA and to be entitled people must show the following:
- They have worked as employees or have been self-employed
- Paid sufficient National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years with National Insurance credits being included
People are not allowed to receive “new style” ESA for the following reasons:
- Receive the severe disability premium or are entitled to receive it
- Received or were entitled to receive severe disability premium during the last month and are still eligible to get it
People may not receive “new style” ESA if they are receiving Statutory Sick Pay – SSP from their employers but can apply for it up to three months prior to their SSP ends.
People cannot receive income-related ESA if they have investments or savings that are worth more than £16,000.
Eligibility – Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
There are three types of Jobseeker’s Allowance – JSA- which are as follows:
- “New style” JSA
- Contribution-based JSA
- Income-based JSA
The sort of JSA people can receive would depend on their circumstances and they may only apply for income-based JSA and contribution-based JSA if either of the following applies:
- They receive the severe disability premium or they are entitled to receive it
- Received or they were entitled to receive the severe disability premium in the last month and they are still entitled to get it
For people who do not, they may only apply for the “new style” JSA
Eligibility – Universal Credit
People could receive Universal Credit if the following applies:
- They are on a low income or they are out of work
- They are 18 years of age or over – some exceptions exist for people who are 16 to 17 years of age
- They are under the State Pension age or their partner is
- They or their partner have £16,000 or less in savings between them
- They live in the UK
It is worth noting that a person’s eligibility is not affected by the number of children they have but could affect the amount they receive.
For those who live with their partners, the income and savings of a partner would be taken into account even though they may not be entitled to receive Universal Credit.
For people who are 16 or 17 years old, they can only seek a new Universal Credit claim of the following applies:
- They have a limited capacity to work, or have medical proof and they are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
- They are caring for a person who is severely disabled
- They are responsible for a child
- They are in a couple and have the responsibility of at least 1 child and their partner is entitled to receive Universal Credit
- They are pregnant and it is eleven weeks or less before the expected week of childbirth
- They had a baby in the last fifteen weeks
- They do not have parental support
- They are in training or studying full-time
People can make a request to receive new Universal Credit if the following applies:
- They live with a partner and are entitled to receive Universal Credit
- They are responsible for a child whether as a couple or single person
- They are entitled to receive Disability Living Allowance – DLA – or are disabled, or are entitled to Personal Independence Payment – PIP, and have a limited capacity to work
- They are in “non-advanced education”, are 21 years of age or under and not under parental support
- They are in a couple and one partner is of State Pension age
- They and their partner can claim Universal Credit as a “couple” should one of the partners is under the State Pension age and is entitled to receive Universal Credit
Eligibility – Tax credits
A person may receive Working Tax Credit depending on the following:
- The number of hours for paid work is carried out every week
- Their income and their circumstances
When it comes to new Working Tax Credit claim, these have been replaced by Universal Credit for the majority of people who could only make a new claim if they receive the severe disability premium or have received it in the past month and they are still entitled to receive it.
Eligibility – Child Benefit
Only 1 person may receive Child Benefit for a child and they are responsible for a child who is under the age of 16 or are under the age of 20 should they remain in approved education or training and they live in the UK.
With this said, the rules of eligibility differ if the following applies to a child:
- A child goes to hospital or into care
- A child lives with another person
Eligibility – Housing Benefit
People may only make a new claim to receive Housing Benefit if one of the following applies:
- They are receiving the severe disability premium or they are entitled to receive it
- They received or were eligible to receive the severe disability premium in the last month and they are still entitled to receive it
- They have reached the State Pension age
- They live in temporary accommodation
- They live in supported or sheltered housing with special facilities an example being wardens or alarms
For people who are not eligible, they would need to apply for Universal Credit instead.
People would not typically be able to receive Housing Benefit if the following applies:
- Their savings are more than £16,000 (unless they receive Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit)
- They are paying a mortgage on their own home
- They live with a close relative
- They already claim Universal Credit
- A partner is already receiving Housing Benefit
- They are a full-time student – unless disabled
- They are living in the UK as a European Economic Area jobseeker
- They are an asylum seeker or they are sponsored to reside in the UK
- They are the subject to immigration control under the proviso of not being entitled to claim public funds
- They are a Crown Tenant
You can find advice and information on benefits you may be entitled to at the following links:
- entitledto – provides information relating to tax credits, income-related benefits, Universal Credit , contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance. You will find information on how any benefits you receive may be affected when and if you start working
- Turn2us – provides essential information on income-related benefits which includes tax credits, Universal Credit, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance. The site also provides essential reading on how benefits you receive would be affected if and when you start working or your working hours change
Health and Safety in the workplace
Employers in the UK must by law ensure that employees are protected from harm and injury in the workplace. An employer must set in place all reasonable measures to reduce the risk of accidents occurring in a work environment and that employees are not put at risk of developing work-related health issues as set out by the Health and Safety Executive regulations.
There are specific accidents, injuries which includes fatalities and health conditions which must be reported to RIDDOR. Reportable incidents include the following:
- Specific injuries to workers
- Dangerous occurrences
- Occupational diseases
- Exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents
The law relating to reportable diseases is extremely strict and must be respected by employers who have a legal duty to ensure that any of the above workplace incidents and injuries are reported to the RIDDOR in a timely manner. A failure to do so could result in legal action being taken out against an employer.
These laws are not only there to ensure that workers are kept as safe from harm as possible but also to help employers identify any risks, hazards and dangers in the workplace which as a consequence allows for measures to be set in place to make a work environment safer for employees and other workers to be in. An employer must also listen and take on board any concerns that employees may have.
Employee’s Rights in the Workplace
Employee’s rights are protected in the workplace and employers are legally obliged to respect them. These laws are set in place to ensure that workers are treated fairly in the workplace by their employers and are referred to as statutory rights. With this said, an employee may have “specific rights” other than their statutory rights depending on the sort of job they do. In short, depending an employee’s rights would be a combination of both statutory rights and rights as set out in an employment contract.
Employee’s Statutory Rights are as follows:
- A National Minimum Wage must be paid to workers who are 25 or over
- Within a period of 2 months, workers must receive a written statement that clearly sets out the main terms and conditions as well as the basic details of employment
- Workers must be given itemised payslips that shows detailed breakdowns of pay and deductions
- An employer cannot take deductions out of a workers wages which would be deemed illegal
- Workers cannot be discriminated against in a workplace which applies to all types of discrimination
- Workers under health and safety regulations have the right to daily/weekly rest periods
- Employers under the Health and Safety regulations have a statutory duty to ensure the health and safety of workers
- An employer cannot force staff to work more than the average of 48 hours per week – unless an employee agrees to the additional hours in writing
- Workers have the right to take a specific amount of time off every year as paid holiday
- Workers have the right to have unpaid time off work to take part in additional training, to attend trade union events and to look after any dependants in times of emergency
- Female staff are entitled to take time off work for antenatal care and may take 52 weeks off for statutory maternity leave
- Workers who are eligible are entitled to 1 to 2 weeks paternity leave
- When a child is adopted, one of the parents (adoptive) is entitled to take 6 months paid leave as well as 6 months unpaid leave while the other partner is entitled to take paternity leave
- Workers should be protected from being harassed, treated unfavourably, victimised in the workplace or being given notices of dismissal if a complaint is filed or suspected wrongdoing has been reported
- Workers who have been employed for at least 1 month must be given “notice” if dismissed from a job
- Female workers who are given a dismissal notice when pregnant or when on maternity leave must be given a written explanation of why they are being dismissed from a job
- Workers who attend disciplinary hearings are entitled to be accompanied by trade union representatives should this be deemed necessary
- An employer can put a worker on short-time working or they can lay off workers should there be a downturn in their industry which results in not having work for employees. Workers would not be paid when laid off but would be paid part of their regular salary if they are on “short-time” working. In both cases, workers could be entitled to receive “guarantee payment” from employers
- The rights of fixed-term workers are the same as contractual rights of permanent employees whose working roles are similar
- The rights of part-time workers are the same as contractual rights of full-time employees whose working roles are similar
- Workers have the right to request flexible working hours if they have worked 26 weeks (6 months) for an employer
- Workers have the right to take unpaid parental leave after having worked for an employer for 12 months
- Workers have the right to file an unfair dismissal claim against an employer if they have worked for an employer for 24 months
It is worth noting that not all workers could be entitled to “statutory rights” and that only “employees” who work for an employer or company would qualify.
Disabled Employee Rights, under the Equality Act 2010 prevent employers from discriminated against a disabled worker which applies to any stage of a mental or physical disability. Employers have a “duty” to make reasonable adjustments in a work environment to accommodate disabled workers so they have full access to facilities to ensure they are not disadvantaged in any way.
Employers have a duty to respect an employee’s rights no matter what workplace situation arises. Not only is this good business practice, but it instils trust and confidence within a workforce. The result is that employers create a better working environment which in turn, helps improve productivity and employee engagement.
Redundancies, Dismissals and Disciplinary Actions
There are laws that protect you if you are made redundant, dismissed from work or any disciplinary actions are levied against you. You can claim redundancy and any other money that an employer owes you providing you meet the necessary criteria.
For an employee to be eligible, they must meet the following:
- A UK or EEA national – however, a foreign national who has the right to work in the UK would also be eligible
- Was an employee at an organisation, company or business
For workers who are not eligible – an example being a contractor – they can register themselves as a “creditor”.
If you are dismissed by an employer, you have specific rights which must be respected.
If you are dismissed by an employer, you have specific rights which must be respected. The definition of “dismissal” is when an employer ends a worker’s employment. It is worth noting that employers are not always obliged to give an employee notice. With this said, an employer must show the following:
- That there is a valid reason which can be justified
- That they acted “reasonably” under the circumstances
- They must be consistent – an example being dismissing one worker for something that another employee is allowed to do
- That they fully investigated a situation prior to dismissing an employee – an example being that a complaint was filed about you
Part-time or fixed-term workers cannot be treated less fairly than any full-time or permanent employees.
If an employer takes out disciplinary action against you. Should this be the case, you should have the right to appeal any disciplinary action that has been levied against you.
An employer can begin a formal disciplinary action against an employee should they have any concerns regarding their conduct, absences or work standards. However, your employer should raise the matter that concerns them with you informally to begin with. With this said, they have the right to go immediately to a disciplinary procedure or a dismissal.
A disciplinary procedure sets out a method by which an employer can deal with any disciplinary issues that may arise in a workplace but workers who are involved in any sort of disciplinary action should be given an opportunity of telling their side of events and be allowed to file an appeal on any decisions that an employer comes to.
You can find more information regarding disciplinary action and grievance procedures on the ACAS website
Upcoming Events and Conferences on Recruitment and Employment Opportunities
East Cambs Careers & Skills Fair – 5 November 2019 – Ely Cathedral
Careers Open Day – 20 November 2019 – Millennium Point, Birmingham
Developing Line Managers Conference and Workshop – 27/28 November 2019 – London
Performance Management Conference and Workshop – 5/6 December 2019 – London
More news on learning and work institute coming soon.