Employment Rights

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As a student in the UK, it is essential to be aware of your employment rights. Whether you are working part-time during your studies or seeking employment after graduation, understanding your rights can help ensure fair treatment in the workplace.

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) sets the minimum hourly rate that most workers in the UK are entitled to receive. As a student, if you are over the age of 16 and working, you should be paid at least the NMW. The specific rate depends on your age. It is important to note that some types of work, such as apprenticeships or certain internships, may have different wage requirements.

Working hours and breaks

As a student, it is crucial to balance your work and studies effectively. The law sets limits on the number of hours you can work, depending on your age. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you should not work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. If you are 18 or over, there are no specific limits on working hours, but you should not work more than 48 hours per week on average. As a Students' Union, we care about your welfare and wouldn't encourage working more than 20 hours a week, with 15 being preferable. Studies have shown that after that, your academic marks start to suffer. If you are an International student your visa prevents you working more than 20 hours during term time.

Holiday entitlement

As a student employee, you are entitled to paid holidays. The law states that you should receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid leave per year, which can include bank holidays. This entitlement is calculated based on the number of days or hours you work. It is important to discuss your holiday entitlement with your employer and plan your time off in advance.

Protection against discrimination

In the workplace, it is essential to be treated fairly and without discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. If you believe you have been discriminated against, you have the right to take action and seek redress.

Health and Safety

Your health and safety should be a priority in the workplace. Employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment and ensure that you are not exposed to unnecessary risks. They should carry out risk assessments, provide appropriate training, and have measures in place to protect your well-being. If you have concerns about health and safety at work, you should raise them with your employer or the appropriate authority.

Seeking employment advice

If you have any questions or concerns about your employment rights as a student in the UK, it is advisable to seek advice from reliable sources such as Citizens Advice, trade unions, or employment law specialists. They can provide guidance and support based on your specific circumstances.

Remember, understanding your employment rights is crucial for a fair and positive working experience as a student. By being aware of these rights and asserting them when necessary, you can ensure that you are treated fairly and have a successful employment journey alongside your studies.

We also have an Advice Centre, who can give independent, confidential advice.