Students often have a hard time in the workplace. It's not uncommon for bosses to exploint the fact that they don't know what they are entitled to so we've put together a short guide with some of the key things you need to know to make sure you're being treated fairly.
Everyone is legally entitled to receive at least the minimum wage which varies by age:
Everyone is entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes for every six hours of continuous work during a single shift.
At least 11 hours’ rest in each 24 hour period- this means if you finish a shift at 9pm you shouldn’t be on the rota again until 8am the next day.
You cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours in a week, your boss can ask you but must do so in writing and in advance.
All non temporary employees are eligible for annual leave - you can calculate how much leave you’re entitled to here. When you take the leave is negotiated between yourself and your employer.
You also have a right to be safe at work. This means you're entitled to:
- See your workplace’s written health and safety policy
- See and have access to a properly conducted risk-assessment of your workplace.
The Citizens Advice have a comprehensive list of your rights in the workplace here.
If you are studying under a Tier 4 visa you are only allowed to work the maximum amount of hours specified on your visa per week during term time (this is normally a maximum of 20 hours per week but in some instances can be less so make sure you check your visa details for your specific requirements) Outside of term time you can work full time.
Your vacation periods, when you can work full time, are the period when you are not required to be studying. This will be different depending on the type of course you are doing. For example, if you are supposed to research and write a dissertation or thesis while other students are on holiday, this is term time for you and you should restrict your work to 20 (or 10) hours a week during this time.
A week is defined as ‘a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday’- if you work irregular hours make sure to keep track of the amount of hours you work each day so you are not in danger of going over the maximum hours you can work.
If you're in doubt look UKCISA have a guide to help you calculate how many hours you can work here.
Being in a Trade Union gives you a huge amount of benefits:
- If you ever have any difficulty in your workplace they can advise and represent you in meetings with your employer.
- They negotiate improvements in pay and conditions.
- If there are large scale changes to the workplace such as redundancies, they act as an advocate for the workforce to ensure you're treated fairly.
- Provide legal and financial advice.
- Provide education and consumer benefits such as discounts.
Most unions have discounted membership rates for young people, students or part time workers, find the right union for you and your workplace click here.
Joining a trade union is the best way to secure your working conditions and make sure you're treated fairly, but if you want any more advice about what your basic rights in work are, Job Shop have more information on their website (here) and you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.