Working in the UK
Before you start working in the UK, you should check that your status allows you to do so. Not everyone who comes to the UK is allowed to work for example if you are here on holiday. To work in the UK, you must have;
- Permission to work such as a residence visa, students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week. Application forms and further information can be obtained from the Home Office website www.workingintheuk.gov.uk
- An NI number, you can enquire about getting an NI at your local Job Centre
Rights at work and employment rights: New in the UK?
If you are a new arrival to this country, as a working migrant it is vital that you know your rights at work. Your employment rights allow you to make sure you are not exploited in your job. All workers in the UK are entitled to fundamental human rights and basic labour protections, including migrant workers and their families. Migrants are also entitled to certain employment rights and protections specifically linked to their vulnerable status; there is government legislation in place to protect these rights
Contract of Employment
The terms and conditions of employment need to be agreed between you and your employer. You should make sure you fully understand what is written in the contract before you sign it. It should include details of how, and how often, you will be paid, and the conditions of your employment, including disciplinary procedures. Your employer could pay your wages straight into your bank account, or give them to you as a cheque to cash. You can find out more about your employment rights on www.dti.gov.uk
Your employer should not:
- Keep your passport (they can take a copy)
- Take more than £26.25 per week for your accommodation if they provide it
- Take money from your wages for your food
Taxation and Other Contributions Employees Pay
Income Tax and National Insurance contributions are taken directly from your pay as soon as you earn over a certain amount. Anyone who is in Britain for six months or more in any tax year (April 1st to March 31st) is regarded as a resident for tax purposes. The amount you’ve paid will be shown on the pay slip from your employer. Everyone needs a National Insurance Number before starting work, or claiming benefits. Your employer can help you get a National Insurance Number or you can call 0845 600 0643 .
The usual working hours in the UK are 37-40 hours per week with a minimum of four weeks annual holiday entitlement. There are different rules that employers need to follow, but a guideline of entitlements is as follows:
- You must have at least a 20 minute break if your shift is longer than 6 hours
- You must have 11 consecutive hours not at work during a 24 hour period
- You should not have to work more than 48 hours per week on average
- You should get at least one day off in a week or two days off in every two weeks
- You should have paid holiday leave which should be built up from the day you first start work.
Full details of working time regulations can be found on www.dti.gov.uk
Health and Safety
You and your employer have a duty to make sure you are safe at work. They must provide the right safety clothing and equipment and make sure your place of work is safe. You have a duty to make sure you read and understand safety information that is provided.
Trade Unions exist to represent the views and rights of workers and there are different unions for different occupations and industries. You have a right to join a union and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will give you advice on which union to join. www.tuc.org.uk (link opens a new window).
Job Vacancies in the UK:
Searching for a job vacancy in the UK can be a daunting task. We understand that you want to find your job as quickly and easily as possible. You can look for jobs in the in local newspaper, online or at your local Job Centre. Be wary when applying for jobs that ask you to pay a fee first as many of them tend to be scams.