Your Employment Rights
With the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, we know that more students are working than ever before.
Getting a job is a great way to earn a bit of extra money to support yourself during your studies, but it’s crucial that you know your employment rights. We've highlighted some of your key rights to keep in mind when starting work.
National Minimum Wage Entitlement
By law, anyone who is employed must get the National Minimum / Living Wage whether they work part-time or full-time. The current minimum wage hourly rates are:
Age 23 or over - £10.42
Age 21 to 22 - £10.18
Age 18 to 20 - £7.49
Under 18 - £5.28
Apprentice - £5.28
You must also be paid for any training you do that is essential for the job. You can of course earn more than the minimum wage, but it’s illegal for you to be paid less. If you aren’t being paid the correct amount. You can find more information on what to do if you are not being paid the minimum wage here.
If you are off work due to sickness, it’s important that you check your contract to see how much sick pay is paid, how long sick pay can last, and any rules your employer has for sick pay. If you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) your employer must pay this as a minimum, but it may be the case that your work pays more, so it’s important to check their policy.
By law, regardless of gender, you should be getting equal pay for doing ‘equal work’. If you are not getting equal pay, you should raise this with your employer. If nothing comes of this, you may want to raise the issue formally. You could also make a claim to the employment tribunal for equal pay. You can find out more about what to do if you are not getting equal pay here.
You must be given a payslip on, or before the day you get paid which includes how much pay you’re getting, and what has been taken from your salary (e.g. tax). If you don’t receive one when expected, you should check with your employer as soon as possible. If the issue does not get resolved, you can raise a formal complaint or make a claim to an employment tribunal.
Zero Hours Contracts
It is usual for students’ schedules to change on a weekly basis, so your employer may offer you a zero-hours contract to accommodate this. This means the work is ‘as and when,’ so you could be offered 15 hours of work, one week and none on another. Keep in mind, you still have all your employment rights such as being paid minimum wage and getting rest breaks at work. You can find out more about zero-hour contracts here.
We offer a free, independent, and confidential advice service for all students here at UPSU. Our friendly, experienced, and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction. Contact details for the SU Advice team can be found by clicking here.
Last Updated: October 2023