Glossary beginning with S

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.


Second Shift search for term

The household and childcare duties that have to be done in addition to a day’s work for pay outside the home. This work is mainly carried out by women, though many men also carry out domestic tasks.  

Secondary Picketing search for term

A strike or demonstration in support of workers who are in a different union. This was made illegal by the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher in 1982.

Self-employed search for term

Not employed by an employer, but working for yourself as the owner of a business or as a freelance worker.

Sexual Harassment search for term

Unwelcome sexual advances, or making suggestive or obscene remarks. 

Sexual Orientation search for term

The sexual orientation of an individual refers to the gender of people for whom a person feels romantic or sexual attraction. People can be attracted to people of the opposite sex, the same sex, or both.

Social Class search for term

A social class refers to a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influence, and status. In the UK, society has traditionally been grouped into three classes: lower (or working) class, middle class and upper class.

Solidarity Strike Action search for term

Strikes held in support of workers within different union or workplaces.

Statutory Maternity Leave search for term

Leave that employees are entitled to take when they have a baby. All mothers must take two weeks’ leave after their baby is born (or four weeks if they work in a factory). Employees can take up to 52 weeks’ leave after having a baby and their workplace must guarantee they can return to their job. For some of the time they receive their salary, or a portion of it.

Statutory Rights search for term

The key rights that UK law guarantees for workers, such as the minimum wage and holiday entitlement.

Strike search for term

An organised, mass refusal to work, used as a protest against an employer or in support of a particular demand such as increases in wages or changes in working conditions .

Subcontracting search for term

Employing another company to do work as part of a larger contract or project. The subcontracted company employs people according to its own conditions, which may differ from the original company's conditions. For instance, workers may be paid less as the subcontractor tries to maximise its profit from the contract, or may have different holiday or sickness allowances.

Suffrage search for term

Suffrage means the right to vote in elections or referenda or other national or local democratic processes.  Most countries no longer extend different rights to vote on the basis of gender or race.