That’s according to Citizens Advice, who found that uncertainties within employment contracts have left workers unsure about the rights they are entitled to.
Last month, the charity found that half of those on zero-hour contracts and two in five temporary workers believed they weren’t entitled to holiday pay – Ekklesia reports.
Citizens Advice has identified ten egregious reasons employers are giving to undermine employee’s rights, with examples including asking workers to pay for their own national insurance and claiming that a worker’s disability means they should be paid less.
“Bad bosses are denying people their rights, often for their own gain,” comments Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy. “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."
Below, we’ve listed the ten ways employers try to skirt around protecting their employees.
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.”
The charity warns that being asked to pay your own national insurance or to go self-employed when nothing has changed are signs of ‘bogus self-employment.’ It’s a cost-saving method for the employer, to avoid paying national insurance or the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay or maternity pay either. They advise employees to check out their employment status before discussing it with their boss.
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.”
Citizens Advice says that every employee should be get the national minimum wage, and should be paid for all the time you spend at work.
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.”
Employers that make adjustments to pregnant workers without consent could find themselves in hot water for discrimination.
7. “We don’t have to pay you redundancy pay because you’re on a zero-hour contract.”
8. “We need to close for the next two days for stock taking, so you’ll need to take holiday.”
If it’s required that employees need to take holiday, they must be given twice as much notice as the length of holiday needed. Without notice, workers should be paid and not asked to use leave.
9. “You work through an agency, so you don’t get sick pay.”
Agency workers should qualify for sick pay through their agency.
10. “We took you off the rota, so we don’t owe you sick pay.”