Your rights in the workplace

If you have a disability or a long-term health condition or are caring for someone, you may need some additional help to find a job or need to make adjustments to your work life.

Every employee has certain rights in the workplace:

  • paid holiday or annual leave
  • being paid at least the National Minimum Wage
  • Statutory Sick Pay when you're ill
  • time off to care for family or dependents
  • Maternity Leave or Paternity Leave if you're having a baby
  • right to request flexible working
  • fair treatment from your employer
  • being able to join a trade union.

The Equality Act 2010

Whether you are looking of work or already have a job, it’s important to know your rights. It’s against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability.

The Equality Act 2010 protects your employment rights on the grounds of age, disability, gender identity and gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership (in employment only), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. The Act covers area including: 

  • application forms
  • interview arrangements
  • aptitude or proficiency tests
  • job offers
  • terms of employment, including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances.


Reasonable adjustments at work

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have to make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are not at a disadvantage at work. This may include:

  • adjusting your working hours
  • providing you with a special piece of equipment to help you
  • changing your place of work or making adjustments to the building or office you work in, such as widening door or hallways or installing grab rails

If you have found a job you are interested in applying for, it’s important to remember you can ask for any applications forms and materials in a different format, such as large print or audio or Braille and you can ask the employer to for reasonable adjustments for your interview.

The Access to Work scheme can help you and your prospective employer by paying towards a range of support and equipment. This includes both help at interviews or getting started at work and when you are already in a job.


Your right to flexible working

If you find it difficult to balance your work life with your caring responsibilities and your other commitments you may want to ask for flexible working. You may want to consider:

  • having flexible starting and finishing times
  • working compressed hours - this is where you work full-time hours but over fewer days
  • working during term-time only
  • job sharing
  • working part-time 
  • working from home some or all of the time depending on the kind of job you do

You don’t need to be a carer to ask for flexible working.  You have the right to request flexible working if you have been employed by your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the time you make an application. 

You can only make one application per year. However, employers can agree to further changes if employees find that their circumstances have changed and need to make an additional application. You can find more information and advice on flexible working here:




Telling your employer

If your disability or health condition prevents you from doing your job well, or makes it more difficult, then you may want to tell your employer about it. You don’t have to tell your employer, but being open about your disability can be helpful because:

  • Under the Equality Act 2010, your employer won’t be able to discriminate against you based on your disability if you have told them
  • It will help your employer make any reasonable adjustments to your role or workplace.

Redundancy and retirement

The selection process for redundancy must be fair and balanced for all employees. This means your employer cannot make your redundant just because you're disabled. Your employer can also not force you to retire if you become disabled.

Useful contacts:

Richmond Citizens Advice Bureau
Address: Citizens Advice Richmond, 5th Floor, Regal House, 70 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 3QS
Phone: 020 8712 7800

Richmond Aid
Address: Richmond AID, Disability Action & Advice Centre (DAAC), 4 Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8HT
Phone: 020 8831 6080