An employment contract can be rather short. It only needs to state the rate of pay, hours, holidays and length of notice to terminate the contract. Your contract will start once the offer of employment is accepted and you are legally entitiled to a Written Statement of the main terms and conditions with two months of starting work. Your rights will also depend on whether you are a worker, employee or self-employed. You can read more about this here

Zero hour contracts

If you work under a ‘zero hour’s contract’ you still have employment rights. You are entitled to statutory annual leave and to earn the national minimum wage. Your employer can no longer insist you do not work elsewhere (this was known as an exclusivity clause but has now been banned). The TUC workSMART page has plenty of useful information about the employment rights of students


Minimum Wage

The Minimum wage depends on your age. As from April 2018 If you are between 18-20 it will be £5.90 per hour, 21-24 £7.38 and over 25 it is £7.83


Annual Leave Entitilement

All workers above school leaving age are entitiled to annual leave. Full-time staff are enttiield to at least 28 days whilst part-time staff would have their leave entitilement calculated on a pro-rata basis. You may need to work for a while to build up your annual leave entitilement. Your annual leave entitilement may or may not include public and bank holidays. Check your contract, induction documents of 'staff guide' for more information.


Equality and Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people at work on the basis of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

If you have been the subject or discrimination or witnessed it in the workplace you should initially raise this with your employer. If you are not satisified with the employers response you can seek advice from ACAS


Disciplinary Meetings

If you find yourself undergoing disciplinary action you have the right to take a colleguae or a trade union official with you to disciplinary meetings. If you are not happy with the outcome of the disciplinary then you can appeal in writing using the employers appeals process. ACAS procide some good practice guidance as to how disciplinary meetings should go ahead, however there are no legislative rules. Before attending a disciplinary meeting you may wish to write a statement of what occured and take this with you, if you have not already been asked to provide one. This can help you preapre for te meeting and ensure you cover all the points you wish to raise.



Employers are encouraged to complete a full investigation before dismissing and employee and should consider altertive options available, e.g. training, suspension etc... If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed then you can seek advice from ACAS. If you wish you can contact ACAS with one of our Advice Workers so they can support you during the call and help you with any action points that result from it.


Health and Safety

Employers are requird to ensure they have taken every step to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff. If an employeer fails to do whatever is reasonable to to keen and emplyee safe from harm then they are in breach of their responsibilities. Examples of how an employer can ensure they fulfill their duty of care are:

  • Clearly defining jobs and undertaking risk assessments
  • Ensuring a safe work environment
  • Providing adequate training and feedback on performance
  • Ensuring that staff do not work excessive hours
  • Providing areas for rest and relaxation
  • Protecting staff from bullying or harassment, either from colleagues or third parties
  • Protecting staff from discrimination
  • Providing communication channels for employees to raise concerns
  • Consulting employees on issues which concern them.


You should raise any concerns directly with the employer in the first instance. If you believe your employer is in breach of their duty of care then you can contact ACAS for advice.

(Source:, accessed 02/07/2018)