9. The law
These pages describe best practice. They do not explain the law. But there is health and safety law and equalities law that you must follow.
Health and safety law
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, it is an employer's duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their work activities. This means ensuring, as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and others are protected from any risks arising from work activities. There is straightforward guidance on how to comply with the health and safety law.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 are goalsetting and require employers to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. HSE's web pages for disabled workers have more guidance on this.
The Equality Act 2010 provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
It covers workers' rights to be treated equally in employment including when applying for jobs, promotion, reasonable adjustments including flexible working, equal pay, and retirement. There is detailed guidance for employers and workers.
Other employment law
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 all employees have the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers. Employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible. There is detailed guidance for employers on handling requests for flexible working.
If a worker has a sickness absence, The Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and The Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 will apply. Your employees may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. There is detailed guidance for employers.