Basic Employee Rights You Might Not Know Exist

Employee rights vary drastically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Here are a few of the most common employee rights you should know.

If you work for a company that isn’t treating you very well then you may wonder what your rights are. This is completely normal, and by educating yourself now, you can stop yourself from experiencing any kind of blowback in the future. Here are some of the more common rights you should consider before determining whether you’re getting everything from your employer that you’re entitled to.

employee rights
Photo by Julian V from Pexels

Common employee rights to research

Employee rights differ dramatically between countries, although the EU tends to have some in common. These are different from those in the US and, in the US alone, there are vast differences in employee rights between states. But, here’s a place to start to determine if you’re being treated fairly.

You have the right to receive a payslip

A payslip has to be given to you on the day you get paid. Sometimes it can be given to you on the day before. It should give you a breakdown of what it is you are being paid for, and any deductions that may be present. Some employees may give you payslips on paper, or online. Your payslip has to include the total pay before deductions, or fixed deductions.

You can’t be discriminated against

You cannot be discriminated against because of your age, gender, race, pregnancy, marriage, or disability. It is possible for discrimination to be direct, but sometimes it can be indirect. If you are the victim of direct discrimination then this will take place in the form of indirect mistreatment. An example of this would be if a pregnant woman was to be absent because they had morning sickness. Another aspect related to the issue of sick pay is pregnancy. Many countries and union contracts require certain accommodations for pregnancy and for leave after the birth of a child. Some companies see this as an unnecessary expense and may choose to refrain from hiring pregnant workers or avoid promoting them because they know the worker has restrictions and will miss a significant number of workdays after the birth to take care of an infant. Consider signs of pregnancy discrimination as an employee as it’s your right to work regardless of pregnancy.

If the employer then used this opportunity to take action against their attendance record, for instance, this would not be acceptable and would show discrimination. Indirect happens when rules apply to a group of employees. They may be reasonable but less fair. If all employees have to work one Saturday every month then this could be discrimination against those who are of Jewish faith, as it is a religious day to them. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against, it’s best to hire a professional, especially if you have been offered a severance agreement.

Statutory sick pay

In the US, there’s no statutory sick pay required of employers, although many offer this as a benefit to attract better workers. In other countries or even in states in the US, statutory sick pay varies. For instance, some union contracts require a certain number of hours of sick pay for all contracted workers.

In other countries, statutory sick pay is mandated for all employees under certain conditions, such as the number of hours worked. If you are not being offered sick pay, or if your employer is docking your pay because you have been sick you may be entitled to compensation with proof of your illness. If you cannot provide this, then it could be worth seeking help, as it is your right as an employee to have your sick days paid for.

Flexible working conditions

Again, the US doesn’t guarantee most worker’s rights with the exception of fair pay and non-discrimination. During the pandemic, more companies allowed for flexible work conditions and work-from-home policies to keep their staff safe. There’s a push now to get those workers back into the office.

going back to work
Image courtesy of Economic Times

Did you know that in other regions you have the right to request flexible work hours? Most of the time you can do this once a year. You need to have worked for the company for a certain period of time to become eligible for this. You also need to document how it could benefit the business. Your employer should get back to you within a few months about this, and they must change your contract if they do support your request. If they say no to you adopting a flexible working approach then they have to tell you why, or they may be going against your rights as an employee.


If you can keep things like this in mind when negotiating with your current employer, you should be able to protect your working rights.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.