Getting help and advice about wages and pension rights
You have the right under UK law: *
To be paid the minimum wage
To have annual paid holiday
To receive minimum sick pay
To be enrolled in a pension scheme
The Minimum Wage is the legal minimum amount people must be paid for their work, and is calculated on an hourly rate. It is illegal for employers to pay less than this, and it varies based on age. That figure is currently:
£9.50 (if you are 23 years old or older)
£9.18 (if you are 21 or 22 years old)
£6.83 (if you are 18, 19 or 20 years old)
£4.81 (if you are 16 or 17 years old)
If you are not being paid the minimum wage, then contact your union representative straight away and we can help with this.
All workers are entitled to the minimum wage - whether they are full-time, part-time permanent, temporary or agency worker.
If you are paid the minimum wage and your employer insists that you come in early or work late without additional pay, then they could be breaking the law. If you already earn the legal minimum then any deduction from your pay or enforced unpaid work time could mean you are earning less than the minimum wage when you calculate an average hourly rate.
If you work full-time, you are entitled to 20 days of paid leave per year, as well as Bank Holidays, meaning 28 in total.
Your employer can give you more days than that, but this is the basic legal minimum. You should be paid the same when you are on leave as when you are at work. If you usually receive a bonus or commission, you should also be paid this while you are off.
If you are off sick, you are entitled to a minimum Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £95.85 per week. You can get this for up to 28 weeks and how many days you can get it depends on why you’re off work. If you’re self-isolating from Covid, you can get SSP for every day if you have to self-isolate, if you’re unable to work from home. You must self-isolate for a minimum of four days to qualify.
If you’re off sick for reasons unrelated to Covid, you can get SSP from the fourth day you’re off sick. The three days before this are known as “waiting days” – you can only be paid for them if you’ve already received SSP within the last eight weeks, and that included a three-day waiting period.
Every workplace also has a pension scheme - which is basically a fund which both the employer and you pay into and set of rules to abide by so that you have a pension when you retire. Every employer must enrol you in a pension scheme that both the employer and you contribute to. Some employers put the bare minimum in place, others have much more generous schemes which mean you get a much better pension when you retire.
All employers now automatically add you to the workplace pension scheme, this is called auto-enrolment. You will automatically be enrolled onto a workplace scheme if you are over 21 years old and earn at least £10,000 a year.
If something has gone wrong with your pension, the first step is to understand what has gone wrong and who you need to take this up with.
The four terms for pension complaints that are useful to understand are: maladministration, financial loss, loss of expectation and stress and inconvenience.
Maladministration – this is the inefficient or incompetent management of your pension.
Financial loss – this is where maladministration has resulted in you losing out financially.
Loss of expectation – this is where maladministration has led you to expect a greater entitlement than exists.
Stress and inconvenience – this is where maladministration has resulted in stress and inconvenience to resolve the situation and take appropriate action for your personal finances.
To resolve a dispute regarding your pension it may be necessary to work out who is responsible for the dispute. Most pension complaints concern pension scheme administrators, as they are responsible for the bulk of the administration of your pension.
However, they do not have sole responsibility over the administration of all aspects of your pension because your employer also has some administration duties.
If your dispute is about incorrect information being sent to the pension scheme administrators or contributions not being paid, you should contact your employer in the first instance to resolve the issue.
If your dispute is about any other aspect of your pension, you should contact the pension scheme administrators.
When you write your complaint you need to be concise but comprehensive. Explain clearly what you are unhappy about, how it has affected you and how you would like it to be rectified.
You can opt out of your pension scheme at any time but we do advise you to pay into some form of pension. You are contributing to your pension, but so is your employer and so your pension is growing from more than just your contributions.
You can usually draw your pension at 60 or 65 with some more generous schemes offering retirement at 55.
Your union representative is your starting point for getting help from us with any problem at work.
Sometimes members feel that they can sort things out on their own, but it is important to talk to your union representative as soon as possible. Sometimes trying to sort out an issue without proper advice can make the problem much worse. We are here to help you and you can contact your union representative by calling 0333 2423 526.
Your union representative will discuss the situation with you, agree a way forward with you and together they will help you achieve the best possible outcome for you.
You have a legal right to belong to a trade union and your employer is forbidden from treating you unfavourably because you join a trade union, take part in trade union activities or use the services trade unions provide for their members. You also have a right to be accompanied by a trade union representative at any grievance meetings, disciplinary hearings and disciplinary appeals.
* From the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations (2022), the Pensions Act (2014) and the Working Time Regulations (1998)