Your Rights at Work in Working

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From National Minimum Wage to Holiday Pay and Insurance. Find out more about what you are entitled to as an employee and what your rights are at work.

Employment Contract

All employees are entitled to a written contract of employment stating their terms and conditions of employment and you should be given this within two months of starting a job.

  • Keep all papers an employer gives you. Even if you don’t get anything in writing, you still have rights as an employee. 
  • Always check what is written in a contract before signing and ask to take your contract away to look at it - e.g. if you are asked to sign at an interview.

You can get an employment expert to check it over by taking it to your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Find out where your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau office is

Money, Money, Money...

It is important that you get paid the amount agreed at your interview or in your contract of employment.

  • When you start work, you should give your employer your National Insurance number and your P45 (if you’ve had an employer before). 
  • It is not unusual to have ‘lying time’. This means you will not get paid until the end of your second week or have a proportion of your pay held back if you are paid monthly. 
  • You are legally entitled to an itemised payslip which shows the breakdown of your gross pay, the tax you pay, your National Insurance contributions, deductions for a pension and/or union and finally your net pay (the amount you are left with).
  • If you are paid hourly, it’s worth keeping a note of all the time you’ve worked in a week, that way you can accurately check if you’ve been paid the correct amount of hours.


You can earn a certain amount of money before the government taxes you. 

Get further information about tax allowances from any Tax Office, visit the HM Revenue and Customs website, or go to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.

National Insurance

If you earn over a certain income threshold you have to pay National Insurance, which comes off your pay at the same time as income tax.

Both of these deductions go towards paying for things like education, benefits and the NHS. If you are unsure about the contributions you make, consult the Gov.UK website for information on Tax Codes.

National Minimum Wage

An employer must pay their workers a minimum amount as defined by law. This is called the National Minimum wage. 

Find out the rate of National Minimum Wage you should be paid

Holiday Pay

Unless your employment contract says otherwise, you are usually entitled to four weeks paid holiday leave (note: a week’s leave is equal to a working week, i.e. if you work a three day week you are entitled to 12 days leave).

  • Check your contract. Even if you have no written contract, if you’ve been with your employer for 13 continuous weeks or more, you are usually entitled to holiday pay.
  • It is your responsibility to inform the employer when you want time off. 
  • If you leave your employer and haven’t taken all of your holidays before you finish, you may be entitled to some outstanding holiday pay. (Note: no employee has a statutory right to paid public and bank holidays).

Working Time Regulations

These regulations cover many aspects of employment, but are particularly significant in relation to the length of time you are legally permitted to work in any one day. You are entitled to:

  • 1 day off a week (2 days if you are between 16 and 18, not to be averaged over a 2 week period).
  • 11 hours (12 hours if you are between 16 and 18) of uninterrupted rest between shifts in any 24 hour period. This can be interrupted if periods of work are spread out over the day, or are not for long periods. If this is the case, you should be compensated with rest periods within three weeks.
  • A rest break of 30 minutes after working for six and a half hours (four and a half if you are between 16 and 18) at a stretch (but your employer isn’t obliged to pay you for this break).

Useful Numbers

  • The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
    Call their national helpline on 0845 47 47 47 (Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm) or visit the website.

  • Citizen's Advice Scotland
    Call the Citizen's Advice Direct Line for free on 0808 800 9060 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm and Saturday, 10am-2pm) or get information on their website.

  • The Young Scot LawLine
    Find out more on rights and issues affecting 11-25 year old's including debt, welfare, housing, employment, mental health and relationships. Call free 24/7 on 0808 801 0 801.