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There are many pieces of legislation that exist to protect us from harm as workers and to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.

The Health & Safety at Work etc. 1974 Act sets out your rights and responsibilities in the workplace. You have the right to work in an environment that is safe and to be provided, free of charge, with the equipment that you need to keep you safe at work.

With those rights come responsibilities. Your employer will set down policies and procedures or tell you about the agreed ways to work in ways that are safe for you, those you work with and the people you support. You must work in the ways that you are told by your employer and if you have concerns about safety in your workplace you must talk to your manager.

The Data Protection Act 1998 protects people’s rights to confidentiality. It restricts how personal and sensitive information can be used, stored and passed on. Personal details must not be passed on unless the person gives their permission. These laws give you rights as an employee but also require you to treat individuals’ information responsibly. You should only pass information on in line with the procedure and for the purpose of providing the best care.

There are many pieces of legislation that demand that terms and conditions of employment are fair. For example, the law states that you do not usually have to work more than 48 hours per week, although you may choose to do so. Exactly when you work will depend on your contract.

The Equality Act 2010 gives all people in the UK the right to be treated fairly and afforded equality of opportunity. This means that people must be paid ‘equal pay for equal work’ regardless of ‘protected characteristics’ or differences. The amount that your employer pays you for your work must meet the National Minimum Wage.

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