Citizens Advice identify common things employer say to mislead workers about their rights

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Citizens Advice have identified the ten most common things employers say to mislead workers about their rights.

Asking people to go self-employed to keep their jobs, telling agency staff they don’t get sick pay and suggesting pregnant staff cut their hours are among the things some employers say to try and find ways around workers’ rights.

The top ten common things that were identified were:

  1. “You work for us, but you’ll need to pay your own national insurance contributions.”
  2. “We can’t afford to pay you any more – you’ll have to go self-employed.”
  3. “Your disability means you don’t do as much work as others, so we’re not going to pay you minimum wage.”
  4. “You were travelling between clients – so we didn’t pay you for those hours.”
  5. “You’re pregnant? Great! But we’re worried you won’t cope so we’re cutting your hours.”
  6. You’re having a baby next year? We’ll need to take you off that important project now.”
  7. “We don’t have to pay you redundancy pay because you’re on a zero hours contract.”
  8. “We need to close for the next two days for stock taking, so you’ll need to take holiday.”
  9. “You work through an agency, so you don’t get sick pay.”
  10. “We took you off the rota, so we don’t owe you sick pay.”

All employees are entitled to basic rights such as national minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay and fair treatment during pregnancy.

However, issues such as contract types and unclear employment status can leave workers unsure about what they’re entitled to.

Citizen Advice recommend that those facing these issues at work should keep evidence and talk to their boss. If it doesn’t get resolved, they recommend raising a written grievance and seeking further advice.

Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice Chief Executive, said, “Bad bosses are denying people their rights, often for their own gain.”

“People with complex work arrangements or those whose circumstances change can be unsure about their rights, with unscrupulous employers using the opportunity to mislead them about how they should be treated.”

“Anyone who is being refused pay and protections should seek advice straight away, to help them clarify their rights and how they can raise the issue with their boss.”

“For people who can’t reach a resolution with their employer, it can be hard to work out who to report the problem to and what to do next.”

“Citizens Advice wants the Government to create a single Fair Work Authority to make it easier for people to get the rights they’re entitled to by clamping down on illegal business practice.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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