First impressions are important...

If you've got this far and managed to land yourself a job you've already proved to be a winner - now the real work begins.

When you start a new job it's vital to get off on the right foot. Work hard, be enthusiastic and above all - get there on time every day.

This page will give you advice about some of the legal aspects of being employed.

Employment contracts

Employment Contracts

The employer must give you a contract of employment within the first 8 weeks of you starting your job, it doesn't matter how many hours you work you still need a contract. The contract can be verbal, but it is best to get it written down, make sure that both you and the employer have a copy.

The contract must give details of

  • What your job is
  • What hours you will be working
  • How much, when and how you will be paid
  • How much holiday you will get
  • What to do if you are ill
  • What to do if you want to leave
  • The code of conduct for the place of work So that you know what the rules are

Hours of work

Hours of work

With a few exceptions 16-17 year olds

  • Can work 8 hours a day (not including lunchtime or breaks) and no more than 40 hours in a week
  • Must have a break of 30 minutes every 4hrs 30mins worked
  • Must have a rest period of at least 12 hours between each working day
  • Must have 2 days off each week

Up to date employment information can be found at

Rights and responsibilities

Rights and responsibilities operate in both directions, the employer has the right to expect certain things from you and you have the responsibility to provide them. Equally you have rights at work and it is the employers responsibility to respect them.

There are laws against discrimination which make it illegal for employers to discriminate in the work place on the grounds of age, disability, sexuality, race or gender. If you feel you have been discriminated against contact ACASon 08457 474747

Health and safety at work

Health and safety at work is everyone's responsibility. Breaking health and safety rules can lead to dismissal. More information can be found at

Your pay

You may be paid, weekly or fortnightly or most commonly monthly.

Pay may be in cash or cheque, but most often, directly in to your bank account. However you are paid you are entitled to a written pay slip which must show gross pay (pay before any deductions) and net pay (what is left after payments for tax, national insurance, pensions and union fees).

National minimum wage

Every worker over the age of 16 should get at least the minimum wage for their age group. The current minimum wage rates can be found at

There are special rules for apprentices. If you think you may be worse off as an apprentice, speak to your social worker as extra payments can be made to help support you during your training.


If you are over 16 and earn over a certain amount you will pay tax. The rates change from time to time and can be found . Once you start work you will be given a P46 to complete. Your employer will send this to the tax office so they can calculate how much tax you should pay.

National insurance

You should receive your National Insurance number just before your 16th birthday. Your employer will need this number for your pay slip and their records. Once you are 16 and earn over a certain amount you will make NI contributions. The rates can change every year, current rates can be found at


If you are 16-17 and have not achieved a level 2 qualification you can ask your employer for reasonable time off to study. Most employers will arrange suitable NVQ training if you ask.