What basic rights do most homeworkers have?

All workers are entitled to some basic rights at work, and as a homeworker you will generally be entitled to the following rights from the day you start:

  • to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW);
  • to refuse to work more than 48 hours per week (unless you sign an agreement saying that you are willing to work longer hours);
  • to have a rest break of 20 minutes if your working day is longer than six hours. (If you are under 18, you are entitled to a 30-minute break after working 4.5 hours.);
  • to have a daily rest period of 11 hours (though in exceptional cases, part of this can be deferred to be taken at the next available opportunity);
  • to have 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave (reduced pro rata if you work part-time);
  • to health and safety protection (including your mental health);
  • to protection from discrimination (i.e. you have the right not to be treated less favourably by your employer on the grounds of sex, pregnancy/maternity, race, civil partnership/marriage, being transgender, disability, sexual orientation, age and religion or belief.); and
  • to join a trade union of your choice.

Some important employment rights are only available to those who are classed as employees. These include rights to:

  • claim unfair dismissal if sacked without notice or good cause;
  • redundancy pay;
  • take maternity, adoption, shared parental, paternity and unpaid parental leave and to request flexible working; and
  • a written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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