Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Student Advice and Support Service

Additional advice areas

Employment Issues

Employment while still studying

Many students need to earn money while they study. The University has a Careers Network that will help you with your CV, and have suggestions where you can find a part-time job.

It is important that you do not work too much in term time, as your studies may suffer.

Once you have a job, the employer has legal obligations towards you. For example, they must pay you the National Minimum wage or more. Normally, both employer and employee are happy and things run smoothly, however, there are times when things go wrong, and this is where we can help you.

Do you have a National Insurance Number?

You will need a National Insurance Number (NINO) in order to work in the UK and to get a National Insurance number you must have the right to work or study in the UK.

All UK Home students will have received a NINO when they turned 16. If you have lost it, you may be able to find the number on an old payslip or you can phone the National Insurance Numbers Helpline on 0300 200 3502 or alternatively complete form CA5403 to get your NINO in writing.

Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number. The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, e.g:

  • passport/identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth/adoption certificate
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

(NB: you can still start work even without the NINO, but you will need to show you have applied for one)

Employment Contract

All employees have an employment contract with their employer. A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s:

  • employment conditions
  • rights
  • responsibilities
  • duties

These are called the ‘terms’ of the contract. As soon as you accept a job offer you have a contract with the employer. An employment contract doesn’t have to be written down.

Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends (eg by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed) or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and employer).

Most employers will give you written terms of the contract, but even if they don’t some terms are implied by law and the both the employer and employee have to abide by these terms. Examples of implied terms are that the employer must provide a safe work place, and from the employee's side that they will not steal from the employer.

An employer must give employees a ‘written statement of employment particulars’ if their employment contract lasts at least a month or more. This isn’t an employment contract but will include the main conditions of employment.

The employer must provide the written statement within 2 months of the start of employment. This statement should include the employer’s name, rate of pay and hours of work amongst other things.

The .GOV website has more detail on terms and conditions of employment. You can also come and talk to an adviser if you are experiencing problems with your employer. Email advice@lboro.ac.uk



Paying Tax and National Insurance

Students are not exempt from paying tax or National Insurance (NI), but you do have to be earning a certain amount before you will have to pay.

Tax: Everyone gets a ‘personal allowance’ in each financial year (6th April to 5th April in the following year) before tax becomes payable. The GOV.UK website has information on the current personal allowances . If you are taxed and then do not earn over the personal allowance in the tax year, you will be able to reclaim the tax that has been deducted and there is more infomration on how to do this on the GOV.UK wesite. 

NI: This is calculated in a different way to tax, but the amount you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn. The national insurance rates can be found on the GOV.UK website. National insurance cannot normally be reclaimed. 

If you are unsure whether you can claim your tax back, or if you should be paying tax and NI, contact an adviser: advice@lboro.ac.uk.

Problems at work

If you are having problems with your employment, such as not being paid, being bullied, unsafe conditions etc, it is always best to seek advice first so you know what your rights are and how to approach your employer.

Our advisers are here to help you, and will be able to talk through your situation with you.

You can email us advice@lboro.ac.uk or call to make an appointment. Alternatively, you can read the CAB Advice Guide  which has a lot of information on the subject.