Two women talking on a window ledge in an office building.

June 18, 2021, by indybamra1

Your Rights and Responsibilities at Work

By, Christian Jameson-Warren – Employability Education Projects Officer.

Having a positive experience at work as a student or graduate can set the tone for the rest of your working career and can help keep you mentally and physically healthy. This blog post can help you with finding and accessing any support you may need, to make this happen.

Before starting work, your employer will normally send you a copy of your contract which outlines certain rights and obligations for both you and the employer. This will typically include your length of employment, normal working hours, salary, annual leave, sickness policy, and so on. If you have questions or need more information about any part of this, (depending on your organisation) you may be able to find this by:

  • Asking the person who sent your contract where you can find more information on a particular area, or who you can speak to about it
  • Searching the company website for policies (your contract may have links to where to find more information)
  • Waiting until you start work, and searching the company’s intranet (if they have one).

In particular, it is worth reviewing policies relating to wellbeing at work to see what support and initiatives are available.

Occupational health

An employer may also ask you to complete an occupational health questionnaire. The purpose of this is to identify how the employer may need to support you if you have any physical and/or mental health challenges or disabilities. Employers cannot withdraw a job offer based on the information you share here, except in extremely rare instances where a person is really not able to do the job itself (I’ll be honest, I’ve never known this to happen).

Depending on your answers, an employer may arrange for you to speak to an occupational health professional. The purpose of this meeting is to identify what support the employer may need to give to enable you to do your job well, so it’s worth being open and honest. More information can be found on the ACAS website. Smaller organisations may not have an occupational health policy or scheme. In this instance, it may be worth speaking to your doctor instead about any health concerns you may have.

If you have a disability, part of this support may include identifying workplace adjustments. This is the Equality Act 2010. From personal experience, I can say these can be beneficial to your wellbeing at work. This will be done in a non-judgmental way, and people shouldn’t think of you as a ‘lesser’ employee for asking for help. Instead, you can approach this conversation with a mindset that you’re helping the employer by enabling yourself to be as productive as possible. As the workplace is a different environment to being in education, you may want to consider how adjustments you’ve had at university could be adapted to the workplace. The following links can help you find out more information:

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 also protects workers from direct discrimination within the workplace on account of other protected characteristics, including age disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy, and maternity. Your employer may also have policies on this subject where you can find out more information.

Continued healthcare

It is also important to consider continued healthcare once you leave University. For example, consider registering with a GP in whatever city you choose to reside in. You can search the NHS website to find a GP in a given area. There are also other resources available for managing your wellbeing at work, for example:

Finally, if you have any questions related to starting work you can always book an appointment with a careers adviser to discuss. If you are an international student and have questions about discrimination when applying for work, take a look at Paragon Law for more informationand of course, if you’d like to discuss questions relating to starting work you can book an appointment with a careers adviser. 

Posted in Career wellbeingCareers AdviceDisabilityGraduating in 2021