In order to work in the UK, you need two things:

1. A work permit (not necessary for EU citizens)

2. A National Insurance Number (NINo) which you can get quickly after an appointment at your local job centre. Click here for more information on how to get a NINo.

Once you have an employment contract, regardless of the number of working hours, you are entitled to Scottish legal working rights. We have listed the most relevant Scottish working rights for you:

Firstly, there is a National Minimum Wage per hour. This rate is updated every year in October and depends on your age. The current rates are £7.20 per hour for people who are 25 years and older, £6.70 per hour for people who are between 21 and 24 and £5.30 per hour for people who are between 18 and 20 years old.

Secondly, the law ensures that all workers have the right to receive holiday pay in relation to the number of hours they work. Full-time workers are automatically entitled to a 28-days-leave per year and a pro rata amount is applied for part-time contracts.

In addition, you cannot have an employment contract with more than 48 hours per week and your employer has to give you a 20-minute-break if you work for 6 consecutive hours.

Last but not least, in case of sickness (with a medical proof from a medical centre), employees also have the right to get a sick pay if they are off work.

Apart from knowing your basic working rights, the following tips could also be very useful to you!

Before starting a job, you should be careful with certain type of contract if you want to avoid some bad surprises. For example, the ’Zero-hour contract’ and ‘Key time contract’ mean you are not guaranteed any number of working hours each week.

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Sometimes employers ask you to be self-employed. This is often a way of them avoiding their responsibilities (e.g. paying holiday pay). You might want to be a self-employed photographer, hairdresser, gardener, tutor or musician or maybe you want to start your own company – one in every 7 new UK businesses is started by a migrant. It is easy to register a new business for tax and there is no minimum amount of tax you have to pay each year.

As a self-employed person, you may not have a regular income and will probably have to work extremely hard – but the rewards of flexibility and being your own boss can be amazing.

To cut a long story short, in Scotland no contract of employment can take UK working rights away from you. There are other rights and special rules that can be important to know according to your situation (young workers, maternity leave, tax return, benefits etc.). Click here to find out more about your working rights.



Some interesting vocabulary:


= 'to be entitled to something' means that it is your right to have something

pro rata

=  at the agreed rate for hours worked (e.g. overtime paid pro rata)


next to each other in a sequence (e.g. 17 & 18 are consecutive numbers, Thursday & Friday are consecutive days)

to cut a long story short

= this is an idiom that basically means 'instead of telling you all the details, here's the main point of what I want to say'