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Paid employment can sometimes be a necessity to stay afloat whilst at university. As well as the financial benefit, it also helps to develop important skills and experience which will enhance your CV and may help with graduate recruitment.

Find out more advice about balancing work, life and study, Employment Rights and information on International Students and Employment below.

If you haven’t been able to find the information your looking for please contact us here - I'd Like Some More Advice   

  • Balancing Work, Life and Study

    Queen’s University recommends that students work no more than 15 hours per week in part-time employment in order to avoid an adverse impact on academic performance.

    QWork is the University's casual recruitment platform which supports all casual part-time student and non-student job opportunities.

    Through QWork, you can register your interest in working on a casual basis on QUB Campus, view opportunities, and apply for and manage your assignments. You can access it from anywhere at any time through QWork portal.

    Working on the balance

    Consider the Job

     When applying for jobs, make sure you are applying for roles and hours that are going to be manageable. You should consider if the job is going to impact your studies at all. If successful in securing a position, be upfront and clear with your employer and have a conversation about your availability and let them know that you are studying. You should try to have this right at the start of your employment so you can get these terms agreed.

    Manage your Time

    If you are applying for a job alongside your studies, we understand that this is usually because you need an additional financial income. However, you should make sure that you do not allow this to impact your ability to attend classes and have actual contact time with your lecturers and course colleagues. If you miss classes you could miss important information that may impact your overall understanding of the topics.

    Don’t Over-Commit

    Different courses will have different contact requirements and some are more demanding in-terms of course content and assessment. As noted above, consider what time you are able to commit to a job and try not to over-commit.

    Plan Ahead

     Forward planning and organisation is of huge importance. You might want to look at assessment periods and make your employer aware that you will either need time off around this time or that they will need to allow flexibility so that you are able to revise and complete your assessments. This will benefit you and the employer. In addition to this, you should also ensure that you are making time for socialising and personal events. Working and studying is likely to be stressful, so make sure you are keeping your social life active too.

    Summer Period 

    Remember that the summer break in University is usually much longer than  you would have had in school. You may want to consider working more hours over this period so that you are able to work less during term time. That way you can build your financial reserves to reduce the burden at busier periods.

    Can’t Work?

    If you are struggling financially but feel that working is not going to be feasible alongside your studies, you may want to see what other financial assistance may be available. You can contact SU Advice to see what you could be eligible to apply for - I'd Like Some More Advice   

  • Employment Rights

    In the UK you are entitled to a minimum amount of pay, holiday, rest breaks, statutory sick pay and maternity leave as an employee.


    The pay you are entitled to depends upon your working status i.e. are you an employee or apprentice. It also depends on your age.

    If you’re above school leaving age but below aged 23, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage. If you’re aged 23+, you’re entitled to the National Living Wage. Your employment contract should outline your other terms and conditions, such as holiday entitlement. Students shouldn’t be treated any less favourably than any other worker or employee.

    Current Minimum and Living Wage amounts are set out below:



    21 & OVER

    18 TO 20

    16 to 17


    April 2024






    Your employment contract should usually outline your rate of pay along with payment arrangements such as when you will be paid and how. If this is not in your contract, you should ask your employer to confirm this in writing.


    Working in Belfast, you are entitled to a minimum amount of paid annual leave. The amount will change depending on the number of days you work per week but it should all work out the same as an equivalent.

    You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (28 days for someone working five days a week).

    Those working part-time are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata, currently this is 5.6 times your usual working week for example. 22.4 days for someone working four days a week.

    If you work 3 days a week, they must get at least 16.8 days’ leave a year (3 × 5.6).


    If the shift you are working lasts longer than 6 hours then you are entitled to one uninterrupted break lasting 20 minutes.

    If you are over 18 years old, you usually have the right to a break of at least 11 hours between working days.

    Someone who is 18 and over usually has the right to 24 hours clear of work each week or 48 hours clear each fortnight.

    Sick Pay

    If you report sick, ask your employer to pay you Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while you are sick. You don’t need to complete a form to do this.

    Your employer may offer a sick pay scheme that is more generous than the legal minimum (SSP). Your employer can offer any scheme that does not fall below the legal minimum.

    To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must:

    · be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer

    · earn an average of at least £123 per week

    · have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)

    At current SSP is £109.40 per week and this can be for up to 28 weeks.

    Problems at Work

    In most cases, students work mutually agreed part-time hours, get paid for their work, and have time to focus on their studies too. Sometimes, though, things aren’t so straightforward. If you have problems at work, contact SU Advice and we will be happy to help. Where necessary, we’ll also signpost you on to specialist organisations such as the Labour Relations Agency, Law Centre NI or the Equality Commission.

  • International Students and Employment

    Depending on the type of visa you have, you may be allowed to take up some part-time work whilst you are studying. The rules surrounding this are strict in relation to the type of work and the number of hours that you can work each week. You should contact Immigration Support Services.

    National Insurance

    When working in the UK any employer will ask you to provide them with a National Insurance Number or ‘NINO’. Your NINO is used to keep an accurate record of your national insurance and tax contributions.

    What does this pay for?

    NI contributions help towards state pension, benefits and the NHS.

    If you don’t have a national insurance number, you’ll need to apply for one when you start work. Find out more about National Insurance registration here.

    The type of information they are likely to ask for is:

    • Your full name
    • DOB
    • UK Address and postcode
    • Home Country
    • Visa Status
    • Confirmation as to whether you are either have a job, have been offered a job or are seeking a job.


    The tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April. Within this period you are allowed to earn a certain amount before having to pay tax. This is based on income alone not the number of hours that you work within a week or month.

    Every individual working in the UK has a tax-free allowance, currently sitting at £12,570. If an individual earns over this, they will start to pay tax on the additional amount.

    Fair Pay

    Anyone under the age of 23 has the right to be paid the minimum wage for their age category. This is the lowest sum you should be paid per hour for your work. If you are over 23 then you should be paid the living wage. For more information on this see our employment rights section above.