Your Employment Rights
Many students choose to supplement their income, whilst studying at LSE, with a part time job. If you choose to do this it is important that you are aware of you rights under UK employment law so that you are paid correctly and treated fairly and with respect in the workplace.
National Minimum Wage
Most workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). It makes no difference whether you work full time, part time, in a permanent job, on a short-term contract, for an agency or directly for an employer.
The current national minimum wage is:
• If you are aged 18 - 20 years it is £4.98 per hour
• If you are aged 21 and over it is £6.08 per hour.
From October 2012 the rate for workers aged 21 and over will rise to £6.19 per hour. There will be no increase for workers aged 18-20.
If you have any queries about how much you are getting paid at your job you can seek advice from one of the student advisers in the advice centre. Alternatively you can call the national pay and work helpline. You can also consult employment pages the ‘directgov’ website which has detailed information about all elements of UK employment law.
If you use an employment agency to find work you have certain rights. These make sure the agency cannot exploit you. Details of these rights can be found on the governments guide to agency work.
Working Time Limits
It is illegal for your employer to force you to work more than 48 hours a week on average. This may particularly affect you if you decide to work full time over the long vacation or you are a part-time student. The number of hours you work per week is usually averaged over a 17 week period although there can be certain exceptions.
If you would like to work for longer than 48 hours a week then you must sign an 'opt out' form stating this. Your employer cannot force you to sign this form. This applies even if you are working for more than one employer.
For any further information you can consult the working hours pages of the ‘directgov’ website
If you regularly work for more than three hours between 11.00pm and 6.00am you are classes as a night worker. As a night worker you should not be asked to work for more than an average of eight hours in every 24-hour period
If you are a night worker your employer is legally bound to offer you a free health assessment before you start your job. As a night worker your employer will also need to make regular checks on your health.
These are the periods of rest you are entitled to during your time at work. Your employer does not have to pay you during your rest breaks. The specific details of your breaks will be included in your contract.
Legally you are entitled to:
• If you work more than six hours a day you are entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes
• A rest period of at least 11 hours in every 24 hours;
• You are entitled to at least two rest days per fortnight;
Paid Annual Leave
All full time workers are entitled to at least 20 days paid holiday, or 'annual leave’ per year. The law is designed to allow you to have four whole weeks a year without having to go to work. This means that if you normally work for 5 days a week you are entitled to receive 20 days paid leave a year, and if you work 1 day a week all year round, you will be paid for four days leave a year.
You begin to qualify for annual leave from your first day of work. In general you are allowed to take 1/12 of your entitlement per month.
It is important to note that you do not have the right to choose which days leave you can take and your employer can ask you to take bank holidays as part of your leave entitlement.
Deductions from wages
Deductions can only lawfully be taken from your wages if:
• they are legally required or authorised (e.g. tax and National Insurance)
• they are allowed by your employment contract - you must have a copy of the contract term which allows the deduction, or a written explanation of it, before the deduction is made
• you have agreed in writing before the deduction is made
If your employer is making deductions from your pay, you should check that they are allowed to. Your employer cannot make any deduction or take a payment from you which reduces your pay below NMW rates even if they have your permission to do so.