Pay and conditions

You should receive a written ‘Contract’or Statement of Employment Particulars within two months of starting work. This should outline e.g. your start date, who you work for, your job title and duties, your rate of pay, hours of work, entitlement to sickness and holiday pay etc. Even if you are not given anything in writing, you will still have a valid contract of employment from when you accept a job offer and start work. Terms may be verbally agreed or as common practice where you work. An employer cannot usually change your terms and conditions without your prior consent. Get advice if they are trying to make changes you are not happy with.

If you are a temporary worker (e.g. working in a shop over Christmas) you should be treated no less favourably than someone in a similar but permanent job, and have the same terms and conditions.

On or before payday, you should receive a payslip outlining how much you have been paid and how much tax and National Insurance has been taken out. See here. Any other deductions should be agreed by you in writing and should be explained on the payslip. In most cases it is illegal for your employer to withhold your pay without your agreement.

The ‘UK Living Wage‘ is currently £8.45 per hour. Employers don’t have to pay this, but many are signing up to this for all their employees. More information at

Working whilst at school: From 13 you can work part time but restrictions apply whilst you are at school until the end of June of Year 11. For example your employer must have a work permit for you and you can only work 2 hours on a school day. For more information go to After Year 11 you must continue in some form of education until age 18 but this can be part time training whilst you work. See here.

Maximum working hours: You can’t be made to work more than 48 hours per week (on average), though from age 18 you can agree to ‘opt out’ of this agreement.

Holidays: Everyone (full-time, part-time and casual workers on zero hours contracts) is allowed 5.6 weeks paid holiday, at their normal rate of pay, per year. So for example if you work five days per week this means you are entitled to 28 days holiday per year. This normally includes bank holidays. Your employer can say when you take your holiday. There is a holiday calculator on

Rest breaks: Workers over 18 are usually entitled to three types of rest break, though these are unpaid breaks unless your contract agrees to this:

Further restrictions apply to night shifts. If you are under 18 you are entitled to a 30 minute rest if you work more than 4.5 hrs, daily rest of 12 hrs and weekly rest of 48 hrs.

Further information on (search for ‘rest breaks at work’).

For advice about your pay and conditions, contact ACAS or one of the organisations here.