Working in the UK, as opposed to getting graduate jobs abroad, means you are guaranteed to be protected by a number of employment laws to prevent unfair treatment. There are also additional laws which are in place after a certain period of time at the business in question. Familiarising yourself with these laws enables you to understand your employee rights and what you can expect from your employer. These laws include, but are not limited to:
- Maximum working hours
- Maternity/paternity leave conditions
- Tax codes, thresholds and exemptions
- National insurance rates
- Discrimination and equal opportunities legislations
- Minimum wage, pay conditions
To see a more detailed rundown of legal employment rights, visit the Department of Work and Pensions website.
Company - Employee Contracts
The rights above concern legal legislation in the United Kingdom, that provides expected requirements of your employers and you as an employee. In addition to these, there are also contractual rights which are part of your contract; this is a legal document, but is distinct from guiding legislation and is between you and your employer specifically. Contractual rights detail your level of entitlement. The format of employment contracts differ from employer to employer and between professions, there are however principles which need to be addressed.
If you have the legal status of an 'employee' then you gain extra rights, but you may have to work for a qualifying or probation period. This means the rights do not start on your first day of your job, but only after you have had the same employer for a period of time.
As well as specific contracts between you and your employer, and government legislation, there are also likely to be company policies which need to be adhered to. These include elements such as notice for holiday, paid sickness policy and holiday pay.
It is important to make a note of the minimum notice period for leaving a company as this often increases exponentially with each year spent at the company.
Each company must make contributions to a workplace pension for each employee by 2018, provided that the employee fulfils certain criteria. When you first begin work with a company, consult the relevant individual and ensure that you have been enrolled in such a scheme. If you haven't, ask them to provide written proof of why not. The condition for receiving pension contributions are as follows:
- Aged between 22 and the State Pension Age
- Earn a minimum of £10,000 p.a.
- Work in the UK (and are a UK national)
By law, if you are within these qualifications (the majority working in graduate jobs will be within their first year), 1% of your qualified earnings must go into your workplace pension. If you feel that your company are not fulfilling their roles to this end, contact The Pensions Regulator.