Your Rights at Work

These are some rights that apply to you if you are a student in the UK and have a part-time job. This is not an exclusive list. If you have questions about the content of this page, please get in touch with or


In the UK, the government sets the National Minimum Wage every April, and it depends on your age what your minimum hourly wage is.

Under 18: £4.20

18 to 20: £5.90

21 to 24: £7.38

25 and over: £7.83

The Real Living Wage ( is set at £8.75 per hour, and £10.20 in London. The Real Living Wage is a campaign that started in 2001 and aims to introduce wages that enable everyone to live a decent life. Once employers pay the Real Living Wage to all their employers, they can get accredited and will be listed on the Real Living Wage webpage.


The vast majority of workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year, but as a part-time worker you may be entitled to less than these 28 days because you work less hours.

You can check how much paid holiday you are entitled to on this webpage, and make sure you check your contract to see if you are entitled to more holiday than the statutory minimum.


If you are ill for more than four days in a row (including non-working days), you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Your employer is entitled to pay it for up to 28 weeks, and SSP can be up to £92.05 per week. If you are sick for more than seven days in a row (including non-working days), you need to hand in a ‘fit note’ from the doctor. This does not apply to zero hours contracts, and in other contracts SSP applies only after a certain amount of time has passed since you first started your job.

You can NOT be forced to take annual leave when you are off work sick, and you can NOT be dismissed for being sick.


You cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours in a single week. Your boss can ask you to work more than this, but this request must be made in writing and in advance. You are also entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes for every six hours of continuous work during a single shift. You are allowed at least 11 hours rest in each 24-hour period - if you leave your workplace at 9pm, your next shift is not supposed to start before 8am. If this is not the case, you can inform your employer that they do not follow the law and you will not work a shift without the rest period. You can not be fired for turning down a shift that starts within less than 11 hours to your previous shift.

Breaks do not have to be paid, but you should be informed about this in your contract.


If you are asked to work a trial shift, you have to be paid for it. It is illegal to have you at your workplace during induction or a trial shift without you being paid. The same is true for training, you have to be paid for any hours you spend training for your job.


You are entitled to have a look at the written health and safety policy of your workplace, as well as risk assessments that are relevant to your position. Your employer has to provide “whatever is reasonably practicable” to ensure workplace safety, and has to fulfill all criteria that is mentioned in the health and safety policy. If you consider yourself to be at risk or that your boss is not fulfilling their responsibilities, you are allowed to refuse to work.


Under the Equality Act 2010, you are not allowed to be discriminated against based on the following categories: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

If your employer treats you differently because of any of these characteristics, they are acting illegally. This applies to the recruitment process, your employment period as well as possible dismissal.

There are specific rights that apply to disabled workers - your employer has a duty to adjust the workplace to your needs and provide any equipment that might help you do your job. Contact if you have any questions.


You are entitled to a written copy of your contract, signed by you and your employer. If you are not provided with one, make sure you let your employer know that they are meant to provide you with a copy within two months of you starting your job.

Make sure you read your contract - it’s important that you know what you are signing up to, and it’s good to refer back to the contract if you notice that your boss is not complying with it.

If not otherwise stated in your contract, the statutory notice period applies to you. Your employer has to give you one’s week notice if you had your job for more than one month, and more if you have worked your job continuously for more than two years.


If you are a paid intern, you should get a contract detailing your pay, days off etc. The law also requires employers to pay their interns the national minimum wage if the intern is e.g. given a contract, expected to show up to work even if they don’t want to and if they are promised future employment. If you are required to do an internship as part of your course, you are not necessarily entitled to payment.


Unfair dismissal is when your employment contract is terminated and your employer has no fair reason to do so. This does only apply if you are an employee, zero hours contracts to not fall into this category. Unfair dismissal also takes place when your dismissal happened for fair reasons (e.g. misconduct, theft) but your employer does not follow the company’s formal disciplinary or dismissal process. If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, get in touch with your Trade Union, who will be able to tell you more about your rights.


A zero hours contract means that you are not contracted for a specific number of hours every week, so you can end up not receiving any hours for a couple of weeks or being asked to work too many hours. With a zero hours contract, you are not obliged to accept any work that is offered to you, but on the other hand your employer is also not obliged to offer you any work.

Many of the rights you are entitled to as a part-time employee on a permanent or temporary contract do not apply to workers on zero hours contracts. However, you are still entitled to the national minimum wage, rest breaks, paid holidays, protection against any form of discrimination and for your employer to pay work-related travel.

Your zero hours contract can NOT have an exclusivity clause in it, which means that you are allowed to have more than one zero hours contract at any one time.