IF you're starting work for the first time this summer, it can be tough knowing what's expected of you and what you should expect of your employer.

But after seeing reports on social media of some young employees being told they will not be paid for their first few shifts while they are still 'training' on the job, we thought it was time to put together this handy guide with advice from ACAS.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

What should happen when I start work?

  • You should receive a written statement with details of your terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting work, or sooner if the job lasts more than a month but less than two.
  • You will also be entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage rate of pay - this rate will depend on your age.

Regardless of whether you have a written contract, you have certain basic rights, for example, the right to holidays, the right to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for your age band, and the right to rest breaks.

An ACAS spokesman added: "Although a contract can be on oral agreement, it is best to put a contract in writing - it saves a lot of potential misunderstanding further down the line.

"In Acas' experience simple misunderstandings over what is or what is not in a contract are one of the main causes of employment tribunal claims."

What is the National Minimum Wage?

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

This changes every April but currently looks like this:

  • Apprentice £3.90
  • Under 18 £4.35
  • 18 to 20 £6.15
  • 21 to 24 £7.70
  • 25 and over £8.21

What kind of contract will I be given?

Apprenticeships are a type of job which combines work with training. It's usually a three-way contract between the apprentice, employer, and an accredited training provider like a college.

A zero hours contract means you don't have fixed hours.

Your employer doesn't have to offer you work, and you don't have to accept work offered.

People on zero hours contracts are classed as workers, and have different rights to employees.

You have a right to be given a written statement of your employment terms and conditions within two months of starting work, or sooner if the job lasts more than a month but less than two.

If your employer wants to vary the terms of your contract - for example, the hours you do or your pay - they should discuss and agree any changes with you.

I've been told I won't be paid when I first start my job, is this correct?

Every worker is entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage for their age band.

There are no exclusions for part-time workers, zero hours workers, or people in specific industries.

You are also legally entitled to pay slips showing your wage and any deductions so you can check that you're being paid correctly.

I have to travel somewhere else for training, will I still get paid?

When you're new to a role, your employer may send you on training courses to gain skills or qualifications.

You have the right to be paid for this kind of training as though it were normal working time.

What should I do if I have a problem at work?

An ACAS spokesman added: "Communication is the backbone of work relationships. If you're struggling with any issues at work, bringing it up with your manager or HR department is likely to be your first step.

"Your employer can't fix problems if they don't know about them. It can be intimidating to bring up concerns with your manager, but in many cases an informal chat is all that is needed to resolve a problem."

It hasn't helped having a chat, what should I do now?

You can find out more about making a complaint about your employer by clicking here

Or for more advice on starting your first job, visit the ACAS site by clicking here