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6 Ways Employers Will Try To Get Around Their Obligations

As an employee, you’re legally entitled to certain rights and it’s up to your employer to fulfil those 
obligations. Most of the time, they won’t have a problem with that but from time to time you’ll come 
across an employer that tries to get out of their legal obligations to employees. Whether it’s because 
they want to save money or they want you to work more hours than you’re legally obliged to, these 
unscrupulous employers will try lots of different tricks to stop you from getting those benefits.


Employment laws can get a bit complicated and employers will sometimes try to take advantage of the 
fact that you don’t fully understand it. These are some of the most common lies that they’ll tell to stop 
you from getting what you’re entitled to.

You Need To Go Self Employed

There has been a lot of debate about workers that are considered self-employed recently as companies 
like Uber and Deliveroo have come under fire for using the status as a way of depriving their staff of 
benefits like sick pay and holiday pay. If you run your own company or you’re a freelancer, you’re self 
employed and it’s very clear cut. If an employer offers you a temporary position as an outside company, 
you’re self employed as well. But if you’ve been working for somebody for a while and they suddenly 
come to you and say that you need to change your status to self employed and start paying your own 
national insurance and income tax. It’s a win for them because they’re paying you less money but it 
isn’t legal for them to do that if you’ve previously been an employee of the company. Ask your employer 
to give you a copy of your contract and see exactly what your employment status is. If you’re a 
registered employee, your employer cannot suddenly decide that you need to become self employed to 
save them money.

Not Being Paid For Travel


There are some jobs where you won’t get paid for travel, for example, if you’re working on commission 
and it’s agreed when you take the job that you won’t be getting paid for your travel that’s fine. But if 
you’re an employee that’s getting an hourly rate, you should be getting paid for travel. Often, employers will say that you get paid for the time you spend with clients but not for the time you 
spend travelling between clients.

In most cases, that’s not legal because you should be paid for all of the hours you spend at work and if 
they don’t pay you for travel, you might end up getting paid less than minimum wage. If you aren’t being 
paid for travel time and you think that you should be, speak with the citizens advice bureau and they’ll 
be able to tell you if you’re being underpaid or not.

Agency Worker Benefits

Agency workers are often at risk of exploitation by employers, especially if you don’t know what your 
rights are. Even if you’re not directly employed by the company, you’re still entitled to benefits like sick 
pay and holiday pay. Read this Statutory sick pay guide to see exactly what you’re entitled to. 
Employers will often tell you that you don’t get sick pay or holiday pay because you’re an agency worker 
but that isn’t the case. Your rights are exactly the same as they would be if you were directly employed 
by the company. The first thing to do is speak with the agency and see if they can iron out any problems 
for you. If you don’t have any luck there, you should seek legal advice.

Forced Holiday Days

Every employee is entitled to a certain amount of holiday days but sometimes, employers will try to 
make you use them when you shouldn’t have to. If the company decides that they need to close for any 
reason (doing stockchecks, making repairs around the office etc.) your employer may tell you that you 
need to use some of your holiday days if you want to get paid for those days off. The bad news is, this 
is legal in some cases. If it’s written into your contract that they can tell you when to take time off, you 
can’t do much about it. But if you think that they don’t have that right, seek legal advice.

Zero Hours Contracts And Redundancy


Zero hours contracts have been a big cause of contention in recent years because employers have 
been accused of using them as a way of stripping workers rights and taking away any job security. One 
way that employers often try to take advantage is when it comes to redundancy. If you’re laid off and 
you’re on a zero hours contract, they may try to tell you that you aren’t entitled to any redundancy pay 
because you aren’t a full-time contracted employee. However, that isn’t always the case. There are 
some conditions, of course, but if you’ve been there for a while you should be getting redundancy pay. 
Anybody that’s been working at the company for more than two years, doing at least one shift a week, 
is entitled to redundancy pay. If you’re unsure whether you qualify, the citizens advice bureau will be 
able to tell you.

Pregnancy

The way that some employers treat pregnancy is a huge problem in some companies. As an employee, 
you have a right not to be discriminated against because you are pregnant. If you tell your employer that 
you’re pregnant and they suddenly decide that you should be taken off a big project or have your hours 
cut down, that’s discrimination and you have a legal avenue to stop that from happening. If you ever feel 
as though you’re being treated differently after telling your boss that you’re pregnant, you should seek 
legal advice. You also need to make sure that you’re getting all of the maternity leave that you’re entitled 
to.

It’s always important that you understand what your rights are as an employee so your boss cannot 
take advantage of you.

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