doctors walking down corridor

Why is employment legislation important in healthcare?

Employment legislation is a vital part of the working lives of most people across the UK, it ensures both employers and employees are treated fairly and understand what is expected of them during their working relationship with one another. This is true across many sectors including healthcare, which is particularly challenging.  

If the healthcare sector didn’t have suitable employment legislation, it would lead to many issues for employers and staff and could ultimately mean the patients end up suffering too without proper care in place. In this guide, we’ll be exploring what employment legislation is and its general importance as well as why it’s essential specifically to the healthcare sector too.  

What is employment legislation? 

Employment legislation or law is a broad term that covers all the legal rules and regulations in place that relate to employment. It governs the relationship between employers and employees and ensures the rights of both parties are protected. This involves determining what an employer can ask of their employees, the conditions in which employees can expect to be working, and so much more.  

What does employment legislation cover? 

Some key areas that employment law covers includes: 

  • Health and safety 
  • Employment contracts 
  • Working hours 
  • Holiday pay 
  • Minimum wage 
  • Equal pay 
  • Recruitment 
  • Parental rights, maternity, and paternity leave 
  • Employee grievances and dismissal 
  • Whistleblowing 
  • Discrimination 
  • Harassment and bullying 
  • Redundancy 

Why is employment legislation important?

Employment legislation is important as it ensures employers and employees can be happy and have a balanced work life with both their needs being met and treated fairly. From a business perspective, understanding employment legislation is essential for effectively running and growing your operations. Also, it helps employers understand how to implement their obligations for their employees whilst also ensuring the business is protected should anything go wrong in the relationship with an employee.  

Why is employment legislation important in healthcare?

Employment legislation is particularly important in the healthcare sector because it is a highly demanding sector. It’s easy for employees to end up overworking, and employers are stressed with trying to run their healthcare practice whilst handling staff concerns too.  

In addition, it’s a sector that is heavily regulated with different frameworks in place that organisations are expected to adhere to. This makes employment law even more important in this industry as the high standards that are set by regulations will affect not just the training and skills of that are needed from the workforce, but also employee relations and how any disciplinary action should be carried out.  

How does employment legislation work in the healthcare sector? 

There are several employment laws in place that directly support the needs and demands of the healthcare sector, to ensure that processes are fair to both parties and patient care isn’t compromised. Below are a few examples of the challenges that face the healthcare sector and how employment legislation works to resolve these challenges.  

The Working Time Directive was introduced to encourage better health and safety practices for workers, which is vital in an industry that directly manages patient safety. The directive restricts the maximum number of hours an employee can work in any given week to 48 hours. Also, it establishes requirements for minimum rest and allowances for annual leave. This means employees can’t overwork themselves as this increases the likelihood of mistakes that could impact patients.  

The healthcare sector commonly utilises shift work and on-call rota systems to ensure that there is always someone available to deal with patient needs. However, these systems often raise issues for employers, especially when it comes to calculating pay. Also, the maximum working hours implemented by the Working Time Directive as well as other problems like sleeping on shift, contradict the fundamentals of the sector to offer around the clock care.  

By seeking employment law outsourcing for businesses from experts like Employment Law Services (ELS) Ltd you can have effective support with complying with employment legislation like the WTD, in a way that allows you to provide a quality service to patients and balance the needs of your employees.  

The healthcare sector is renowned for having a high turnover of staff which is also made worse by staff shortages in particular roles that require specific skills and training. This makes managing staff in the sector quite challenging, especially in areas where there are shortages, and the remaining employees are feeling that they’re taking on too much. Employment legislation and support from employment law professionals can help you with recruiting and managing the right staff for your business, with their needs being supported.  


Hopefully this guide has given you a greater insight into why employment legislation is important in the healthcare sector. As employment law advisors for businesses UK, our team understand the specific challenges that face employers in this sector and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that your operations are running as efficiently as possible, and consistently meeting patient care needs. Book a free consultation with one of our specialists online or contact us if you have any questions about our services and how we can help you.