Five things that a working student should know about their rights at work!
Whether you are starting a part-time job, signing a contract for a temporary summer job, or looking for your first full-time job after your studies, the process from the interview to actually signing the contract of employment and the rules and regulations at the workplace may be tricky. Are you aware of which kinds of questions you do not need to answer during the interview? Do you know all your rights as an employee? How can you make sure your pay is fair? When can you end your contract?
After reading this article, you know all the answers to these questions!
You have spotted a perfect job opportunity for you and written a stellar application which has led to a job interview. Awesome work! Job interviews may be individual or held in a group, either way, prepare for the interview carefully. Find out some background information about the company and think in advance about answers to the most common interview questions. Do also research the general level of the salaries so you will be able to adjust your salary wish correctly if requested.
Keep in mind that there are several interview questions that may seem harmless, but the interviewer is not officially allowed to ask them. These sorts of questions are related to:
If you however do get asked about these subjects, the situation can be tricky. Even though you do have a right to not answer, it can cause you not to get the job. You can either inquire from the employer how the asked question is relevant to the job and based on that decide whether you’d like to answer. A good way is also to circle to a related subject and therefore answer indirectly, for instance, if you have been asked who you live with, your response could be ‘I live 30 minutes away from the workplace with good transportation connections so the early shifts are not a problem for me ’.
Signing your contract of employment
You nailed the interview and have received an offer of a job in the form of a contract - congratulations! It’s time to sign your contract. Take some time to go through the contract carefully, this is an important document that you can rely on whenever needed. Make sure that your contract has..
Always sign your contract before starting at the workplace. This is everyone’s benefit and your right to receive the contract in advance. If there are any unclear details in your contract, the best is to ask and discuss them with your employer before signing the contract. Make sure that both of you have your own copies of the signed document. In an ideal situation the employer is including a job description as an addendum to your contract, so you are both aware of what is and is not included in your tasks.
Starting at your new job
Once you are starting your job, you can expect to be trained in your new position. If you are dumped to the work floor with no guidance, track your supervisor and request a briefing on your tasks and basic rules at the workplace. Mostly, the employee has taken this well into account, but if it’s not the case, remember that it’s everyone’s benefit and your right to get proper training at the beginning. Also, do take note of your right to breaks and allowed a number of working hours according to your country of residence and industry. Notify also, that in your contract of employment, should be marked a probation period, which may differ from a month to six months, depending on the length and type of your contract. During the probation period, you and the employer are both allowed to end the employment without a term of notice.
Payday is here and you have earned every single penny by working hard! Since you sell your time, skills and efforts to your employer, you want to make sure that your salary is correct. This is easy by checking your payslip every month. If you do not receive it automatically, do request further information on where to find this document. It’s not only important to make sure your salary amounts match the hours worked, but also to make sure you are aware of the possible extras added to your salary. These vary per country and per industry, so take a good look at your own industry's laws and regulations. Sort of extras to your hourly wage can be for instance evening shifts, night shifts, and work hours done during the weekends or on public holiday days. Check also the possible worked extra hours, and expenses taken out of your payment.
Ending your job
Your time at the workplace has come to an end. Maybe you have graduated and started looking for a full-time job in the industry you studied for, are longing for change and new challenges, or have gotten a more interesting offer. Whatever your reason to leave is, be sure to notify your employer on time. Use your contract of employment to find out how early your leaving notice should be given, as it can vary from two weeks to a few months. As you have both signed the contract, you are both required to follow the guidelines. For instance, if you leave the workplace earlier than the stated resignation period in your contract, the employer has the right to deduct a part of your salary. Always give written notice of resignation with a date on it to your direct supervisor. Furthermore, remember that you are still an employee of the workplace and get paid even though you have resigned. This is not a reason to leave your job undone or leave the workplace on bad terms and burn the bridges behind.
After your employment has ended, you will receive your final payslip, including all the paid compensations, for instance, holiday money. Take also into account that the employer is obligated to provide you with proof of employment. Always ask for this written document for every position you hold, as these may be a great advantage and a recommendation, when in later job application processes for other positions.