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Top tips for younger workers

After results day many people will be looking to UCAS to help with the next stage of their education, so we want to remind everyone that Acas is the place to go for people ready to start work.

With millions of young people looking to get straight into a career after school, whether it's an apprenticeship, full or part-time job, Acas can help.

How much do I get paid for doing my job?

There are a number of different types of employment that you may find yourself working in beyond the typical job, such as internships, apprenticeship or work experience.

  • If you are on school work experience or have a volunteer arrangement then you're not entitled to the National Minimum Wage - you're usually there to learn, develop yourself or do something for charity
  • If you have an apprenticeship agreement, you'll get a minimum of £3.90 per hour if you're under 19 or in your first year of the apprenticeship - although some employers choose to pay more
  • If you have an employment contract, this means you're a worker or an employee and you'll get the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate for your age
  • Being called an intern or a trainee might mean something at the place you work but it doesn't tell you what legal rights you have - check your paperwork or talk to your manager to see if you're a worker or employee or apprentice or volunteer and if you're still not sure, you can call the Acas Helpline for free advice.

What do I need to know before I start my job?

It can be an exciting time starting a new job but it can also be a little daunting, don't worry. There are certain things that you can do and expect to help you feel more relaxed.

  • Getting there on time and at the right place is essential, the place of work may be different from where you went for the interview, so double check first, and leave extra time to make sure you're not late
  • You may be asked to wear a uniform or the workplace may have a certain Dress code that is expected, this should be in your contract and explained to you before
  • You should expect an induction when you're welcomed into a new organisation. This should include explaining your duties and introducing you to the rest of your team.

Do I get breaks and time off?

Everyone is entitled to a break and rest, no matter what the job is, this does depend on your age and hours you're working though.

  • Workers under 18 are entitled to an unpaid 30 minute rest break during a 4.5 hour shift, and at least two consecutive days off per week
  • Workers under 18 have special protections on the hours they can work and these apply to apprentices under 18 too
  • Workers that are 18 or older are usually entitled to an unpaid 20 minute rest break during a 6 hour shift, and one day off per week (or two days off per fortnight)
  • Do you know how much paid annual leave you are entitled to? This must be detailed in your employment contract. Check with your manager if you have questions. More info here.

What's gig working and what are zero hours contracts?

A zero hours contract is a type of contract where hours are not fixed each week. This means that you can have a more flexible schedule, which can help if studying or have other responsibilities.

  • It can also sometimes mean that employers don't offer as many hours as you need or would like, so it's always useful to talk to an employer about this before signing a zero hours contract.

Gig work usually means you are paid for the amount of 'gigs' you do which might be anything from delivering food to handing out marketing samples.

  • It's important to check what sort of contract you have here because some types of gig work are self-employed and some mean you are a worker or an employee.

More information is available here.