Knowing your rights as an employee

Knowing your rights as an employee



Once you leave university and enter the world of employment, it’s both an exciting and daunting time with everything being so new. As a student in your final year of study, you may already have a role lined up or are starting to consider job applications.

Whether you’re ready to take that next step or are getting organised for your future career, it’s important to have a practical understanding of your entitlements as you enter into a full-time work contract.

Here are some key consideration to be mindful of from human resource consultants Every Cloud Management:

Contractual legalise

When you accept a job role, you’ll be sent two copies of your new contract to sign; one is for you to keep as reference and the second is for your company to put on file. Before you sign, read every page carefully and have your laptop to hand to make a note of anything you’re not sure about.

Pay close attention to key aspects such as holiday entitlement, flexible hours and rules for the termination of your contract. As you can imagine, legal isn’t the easiest type of language to read, so don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time and always share it with an experienced parent.

Should you have any concerns, it’s best to bring these up with your employer in a polite way where you can come across as having a keen eye and good attention to detail.

Responsibilities and company policies

During your first week, you should have access to your company’s health and safety procedures, and you’re perfectly entitled to request this should it not be offered. This can include information on what to do in a fire, who the registered first aider is and any clothing guidelines. You’re also likely to be given a desk introduction where you’re talked through the setup and shown how to sit in your chair in relation to your computer screens.

Essentially, it’s important to realise that your employer is responsible for your safety and will be guided by UK and EU regulations that ensure minimum standards are met. In turn, also keep a copy of your job description so you know you’re meeting their expectations as you work through your probationary period.

Sick leave and well-being

Once you’ve passed your probation you’ll be entitled to a number of paid sick days depending on your contract and HR will record your days off so they’re always up-to-date in the system. If you exceed your maximum entitlement, it may result in loss of pay for extra days, but this is often a lenient process depending on your absence reasons and if you have a doctor’s note. Always remember that whilst contracts and regulations appear on paper quite cold, in real life the people you work with are more than likely going to be normal and understanding confidants.

During your time of employment, your employer has a duty of care for your well-being. Should you suffer from an excess of stress, feel overworked or unhappy in your role, approach your line-manager as a first step so someone senior is aware of the issue and can work with you to improve your working environment.

Ultimately, a first job is a time for you to apply your strengths from University and learn even more. As an initial role, you’ll be given good support from your manager or team lead to help you settle in and progress. Make sure you go in informed and you’ll be off to a great start in your career.