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Rights

The NUJ campaigns for improved rights at work and provides specialist employment support and advice for members.

Your rights at work - information and guidance

Employment rights - basic advice and information

The TUC's workSMART website and its main site's workplace pages, basic rights at work, both provide information on UK workplace rights.

There is a UK government pay and work rights helpline for queries about the national minimum wage, employment agencies and maximum weekly working hours. The freephone number is 0800 917 23.

The union has specialist advice available for reps and members. For details email: campaigns@nuj.org.uk

The Institute of Employment Rights is a think tank for the labour movement and a charity. It exist to inform the debate around trade union rights and labour law by providing information, critical analysis, and policy ideas through their network of academics, researchers and lawyers.

Health and safety

Workplace unions are your best hope for better, safer work.

The NUJ knows that, when it comes to health and safety matters, your work can endanger your health, and even your life.

The union has a section on this website dedicated to health and safety and you can find out about these rights at work on the TUC's workSMART website.

Hazards magazine is an independent, union-friendly magazine, written by local and international union safety correspondents, which provides information on workplace safety problems.

For guidance on regulations covering the Republic of Ireland, visit the Irish Health and Safety Authority website.

The union campaigns for respect and dignity at work and offers guidance and information on bullying and harassment.

Equality

Work/life balance: The TUC has published a comprehensive guide to the statutory employment rights relating to work/life balance. However, it points out the laws governing this area lay down only minimal standards.

The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The EHRC has dedicated sections for Scotland and Wales.

There is also an Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Irish Equality Authority.

Visit the equality section of this website.

Maternity and parental leave information

NUJ members going on maternity leave need to contact the union's membership department to alter their NUJ subscription payments. Members on maternity leave can get their subs put on hold for the period of their ordinary maternity leave, resuming at the end of that period. If members take additional leave, they just need to contact the union at that time to let them know. Email the membership department: membership@nuj.org.uk

The NUJ is pleased to support Maternity Action which is the UK's leading charity committed to ending inequality and improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child's early years.

Maternity Action's website contains up-to-date information on rights at work when you are pregnant including leave and pay entitlements, discrimination and redundancy during pregnancy and maternity leave, sharing leave with a father or partner and child friendly working hours. It also gives information on health and safety and breastfeeding.

ACAS guidance on Managing redundancy for pregnant employees and those on maternity leave

Trade union rights

Facility time: this is time off from an individual's job, granted by the employer, to enable a rep to carry out his or her trade union role.

Securing, maintaining and improving facility time is one of the most important issues faced by trade union reps. It means they can continue to effectively recruit, represent and organise NUJ members.

In some cases, a rep is fully seconded from their regular job, enabling them to work full-time on trade union tasks. It can also mean an employer allows a rep to carry out trade union duties and activities, instead of their job, for a certain amount of time per week or month.

To help reps become even more effective in their efforts to represent members and play a full and meaningful part in workplace industrial relations and the life of the union, the TUC has developed a new on-line training and briefing resources. The materials help reps argue effectively against attacks on facility time and can be used to update current agreements. The information is suitable for reps working in both public and private sectors, but to access the information you have to register on the TUC website.

Collective bargaining: the NUJ works on behalf of members, most often a local chapel, with media employers to discuss changes to employees' terms and conditions. This collective bargaining covers workers in a defined bargaining unit which can include all employees or just certain groups of workers. Terms and conditions usually covered in collective bargaining include pay, holidays and working hours.

Employers must give certain information to the union to help it with the bargaining process, for example, the company's pay and benefits structure or information about its profits, assets and liabilities.

The code of practice on disclosure of information to trade unions for collective bargaining (pdf), drawn up by the conciliation and arbitration body, ACAS, is a helpful source of information and can be used by NUJ representatives and chapels.

If collective bargaining leads to an agreement, for example about a pay increase or change in working conditions, it is called a collective agreement.

Employment rights in Ireland

A comprehensive directory of information on employment contracts, pensions, unfair dismissal, redundancy, working time, pay and wages is available on the website UnionConnect – a collaborative initiative developed and led by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and supported by all affiliated organisations in the Irish Republic. The service keeps workers informed about their rights, entitlements and how to access support in difficult situations.

The NUJ does not merely enforce existing rights - it campaigns to extend the rights of workers and trade unions.

Authors' rights

The right thingThe European Federation of Journalists' (EFJ) handbook, The Right Thing, was written to help journalists protect their authors' rights. The handbook offers:

  • essentials tips for journalists on authors' rights and copyright
  • latest developments on EU and International authors' rights law
  • guidelines for concluding contracts
  • models for collective agreements
  • functioning of collecting societies which ensure authors receive reproduction fees for their work
  • suggestions for dealing with infringement
  • future trends in and challenges to authors' rights.