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Employment Rights Act 1996


The Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) is a crucial piece of legislation that governs the relationship between employers and employees in the United Kingdom. It outlines the rights and obligations of both parties, ensuring fair treatment and protection in the workplace.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 is a comprehensive statute that consolidates and amends various employment laws in the UK. It encompasses a wide range of employment-related matters, including contracts of employment, redundancy, unfair dismissal, discrimination, maternity and paternity rights, and more. Its primary objective is to establish a fair and balanced framework for employment relationships while safeguarding the rights of employees.

Key Requirements under the Employment Rights Act 1996 include:

  • Written Statement of Employment: Employers are obligated to provide employees with a written statement of employment within two months of starting work. This document should include terms and conditions of employment, such as working hours, pay, holiday entitlement, and notice periods.
  • Unfair Dismissal: The ERA protects employees against unfair dismissal, setting out the circumstances under which a dismissal may be considered fair or unfair. It provides employees with the right to claim compensation and seek redress if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed.
  • Redundancy Rights: The Act stipulates specific procedures that employers must follow when making employees redundant, ensuring fair treatment, consultation, and suitable alternative employment opportunities wherever possible.
  • Discrimination: The ERA prohibits workplace discrimination based on various protected characteristics, including age, disability, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. It provides individuals with the right to pursue legal action if they have experienced discrimination.
  • Minimum Notice Periods: The Act outlines minimum notice periods that employers must provide to employees when terminating their employment. The length of notice depends on the duration of employment.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 was passed on the 22nd of May 1996.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 applies to the following countries:

  • United Kingdom;
  • England;
  • Scotland;
  • Wales; and
  • Northern Ireland.

Does the Employment Rights Act 1996 affect my business?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 significantly impacts businesses by establishing a fair and consistent framework for employment relationships. While the legislation protects employees, it also imposes certain responsibilities on employers. Compliance with the ERA helps businesses maintain positive employer-employee relations, mitigate legal risks, and promote a harmonious working environment. By adhering to the Act’s provisions, businesses can enhance their reputation, attract and retain talent, and minimize the likelihood of costly legal disputes.

By understanding the key requirements of the Employment Rights Act 1996, businesses can navigate the complexities of employment law, foster positive work environments, and cultivate sustainable growth while safeguarding the rights of their workforce. Compliance with the Act is not only a legal obligation but also an opportunity to foster trust, loyalty, and productivity within the workplace.

Do I need the Employment Rights Act 1996 in my ISO Compliance Register?

If your business employs people then you will need the Employment Rights Act 1996 in your ISO Compliance Register.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 applies to various types of businesses operating in the United Kingdom, regardless of their size or industry. Whether it’s a large corporation, a small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME), or a nonprofit organization, all employers are required to comply with the Act’s provisions. From multinational companies to local businesses, everyone must adhere to the fundamental principles and obligations outlined in the ERA.

Legislation related to the Employment Rights Act 1996

Legislation related to the Employment Rights Act 1996 include:

  • Employment Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
  • Employment Agencies Act 1973
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989
  • Employment Permits Act 2006
  • Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023

More information

Visit the Employment Rights Act 1996 on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.