Employment law and wages


Employment law is the complex set of rules and regulations which govern an employer’s responsibilities with regards to the employees, and vice-versa. Employees’ wages are also covered by employment law, and the most widely relevant of these rules is the minimum wage - a legal obligation to pay a certain hourly rate which is equal or above the minimum set by parliament.

All employees in the UK are subject to employment law.

Is there always a minimum wage?

Wages which are set as a minimum, however, can vary in different industries and employment relationships, and sometimes do not apply at all. The most common examples of when the minimum wage is not relevant are with students and independent contractors.

Students on work experience which forms part of their education are not subject to the minimum wage because the experience itself is meant to be the reward.

Are you an independent contractor?

Independent contractors, on the other hand, are seen in the eyes of employment law as commercial entities rather than individuals. A commercial entity is free to contract with another party and to perform a task for a specified fee.

There is usually no stipulation in the independent’s contract regarding the time it would take to actually perform the task (although it will state by when the task should be completed). An independent contractor can therefore agree to a task which will take 100 hours to complete, and agree to do it for £300.

This is a legal agreement and the contractor will be essentially working for three pounds per hour which is below the minimum wage.  

On the whole, employers do have to pay employees an hourly rate. This is calculated differently for different types of employment, the skill level and the duration of the employment.

If you are currently earning less than required by the minimum-wage law, or you are an employer and you could be in violation of employment law, the best thing to do is to research your situation with regards to the law, wages and any liability you may have.

Click here to see the minimum-wage rates as of October 2014.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on employment law, wages or other matters Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist employment solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local employment solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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