Employment law is an area of legal practice that relates to everything that we do in the world of work. It spans a vast array of topics from employees and their rights, an employer’s rights, duties and obligations and much more.
The balance between employee and employer in both small family-run companies and multinational corporates is vital. This is the fundamental principle underpinning employment law.
On this page, you can read about how to become an employment lawyer, what you’re likely to be doing if you specialise in the area and how much the average solicitor earns.
Employment law includes everything from resource-hiring, conduct, promotion and workplace grievances to employment termination – either voluntary or forced.
An employment lawyer may represent an individual employee, group of employees or an employer. If acting on behalf of the employee/s, the lawyer will be responsible for obtaining and collating research and information, preparing relevant documents, providing advice and handling dispute resolution through arbitration and negotiations, along with organising the settlement agreement.
The role of an employment lawyer is also to give advice against claims to the businesses and institutions involved, gather and explore HR policies focusing on all elements of the employment agreement, and carry out negotiations with both the employer and trade unions, when applicable.
Employment law features throughout the lifecycle of an individual’s employment. Therefore, this area of law can be applied to all manners of instances that occur in the working life of both an employee and employer, including (but not limited to):
Employment law is here to protect every individual in the working world. Without it, there would be no clear authority on the multifaceted, complex and, at times, contentious area of employment.
With legal guidance in place, as a society, we can help:
The Employment Rights Act 1996 governs the area of employment law. This legislation is a comprehensive framework that underpins the modern working environment.
Contained within the statute are several key parts that set out:
Below is the most common step-by-step route for those wondering how to become an employment lawyer:
Please note: From 2021, the route to becoming a solicitor is expected to change. Although the GDL and the LPC will be available for some time, they will be replaced with one comprehensive exam called the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
How much do you know about employment law? Test your knowledge with our two-minute quiz!How Much do You Know about Employment Law?
The average salary of an employment lawyer in the UK is £32,500 (gathered from a sample size of 1,200).
Central London boasts the highest salary bracket at £42,500-£97,500, with £60,000 forming the average salary. Swindon, the City of London, South West London, West London, East London, Coventry, Bristol, Leeds and South East London make up the top ten geographies in the UK for the highest average employment lawyer salaries.
Barristers, who are self-employed, can enjoy higher salaries than solicitors, who are traditionally employed by a law firm. However, the working hours and associated costs with self-employment will need to be considered, so weighing up both options before embarking on either route is recommended.
There are plenty of law firms specialising in employment law and other firms with dedicated employment law departments. Examples of these UK firms in and outside of London include the following:
There are several useful books on the market to help those studying the subject. They include:
|Employment Law: The Basics||David Lewis||£36|
|Employment Law||Prof. Malcom Sargeant||£32|
|Employment Law 2019||Gillian Phillips and Karen Scott||£33|
|Employment Law: An Introduction||Stephen Taylor and Astra Emir||£34|
Words: Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe
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