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Legislation

 

We will now turn to some of the specific areas of legislation relevant to work experience. This includes Laws and Acts which enhance and protect employee rights in the work place such as equality or health and safety provision. In this section you will have the opportunity to:

  • Review your role in supporting employers
  • Read about some of the key laws which have been developed to protect employee rights
  • Consider how you can maintain your knowledge in this constantly changing area

Approximate time needed: 5 hours


Review your role in Supporting Employers

Your role

Throughout this module, we have constantly invited you to think about the extent of your role in supporting your employers and where you want to place your boundaries. This is perhaps even more vital as we turn to the complex area of legislation. The nature of the service you provide will affect the parameters of your role. For example, young people under 18 and children under the minimum school leaving age have specific provision.

When advising international students, UK practitioners are governed by a specific law as follows:

'The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides certain restrictions as to what advice can be given. You can provide basic information on which a person can act, ie recounting what is stated on a leaflet/information source and giving leaflets, urls, explaining terms. Under the act you can't help a students to interpret what the law means to their personal situation, eg checking passport stamps, or suggesting job roles.'

(NASES, 2006: 130)

Even if you are not registered to give specific advice to students on their individual cases, you can still be of support to employers and students in understanding the generalities of the law and in finding sources of help

Activity

Refer back to the first activity you undertook about your context. Add another forum post to that thread which describes your role in this area and the understanding that you need to have of legislation. There may be codes of practice that cover your work that you can quote from.

Pause for a moment....what do you know about this subject already?

Perhaps you have done some reading around the topic, maybe you have gone on some training, or perhaps you have needed to call on employment law to support your own situation. Whatever your level of knowledge, its likely that there are still some gaps in your understanding, or indeed that knowledge acquired some time ago is now out of date.

Legislation and its interpretation is constantly changing. We are not expecting you to be an 'expert' in this area - to acquire that status you would need to have many years of training and experience. However, we are expecting you to have an awareness of the principles underpinning equality of opportunity and to know enough about the legislation to give employers basic advice.

Activity

Before you proceed, take some time to read the assignment outline again. Part of the assignment requires you to produce an information resource for employers on employment law. The resource needs to include some pointers on employment law and further sources of information.

 

Employment Law

The first area of legislation we will consider links directly to our previous look at anti-oppressive practice, and relates to the protection under Recruitment Law afforded to applicants for paid opportunities.

Please begin by reading this guidance to students on employment rights and law produced by NASES on their 'more than work' website

The pages provide a helpful summary of the key areas of employment law relevant to student employment, such as part time work and working time regulations.

You will be encouraged to supplement your understanding of employment law in the next section of this module. The activities will invite you to review an aspect of employment law and in doing so make use a of variety of websites and professional bodies who can assist you in your work and study.


Employment Law and Equality

 

The main piece of legislation relevant to equality of opportunity in the UK is the Equality Act 2010. It brings together separate legislation that protected different sections of the workforce. The Equality and Human Rights Commission Website is the most comprehensive source of information. Take some time to read about the Act and its provisions here.

 

Health and Safety

Health and Safety requirement will vary depending on the nature of the work experience.

For placements that form part of Higher Education programmes of study, the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) have produced a detailed guide and resources to manage risk, available to download(PDF Document) here.

For placements outside the curriculum, including student employment, health and safety is covered in a range of codes of conduct. For example, NASES offers two codes, one for job centre style services and one for agency services, which in turn are governed by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 1976.

For placements for young people (under 18) and children (under the minimum school leaving age), the Health and Safety Executive website details responsibilities and provides information and support. Link available here.

A common factor is the assessment and management of risk in the particular work experience oppportunity. UCEA articulate six 'health and safety factors' which are a useful checklist for all contexts:
  • Work (the nature of the work being undertaken)
  • Travel and transportation (the travel to/from and during the placement)
  • Location and/or region
  • General/environmental health
  • Individual student (factors associated with the individual student such as disability)
  • Insurance limitations

Unpaid work experience

The legalities of unpaid work experience are covered by comprehensive government advice written for employers available here.

Its important to distinguish between this legal criteria and the role institutions have in informing employers of these legalities and to articulate their own policies towards opportunities which are legally unpaid.

 

Finally .... Maintaining your knowledge

As we have already seen, employment law is complex and changeable, because of this you can't be expected to act as an expert, but you do need to be able:

  • to give employers general advice on key aspects of legislation
  • refer employers to helpful and credible sources of information
  • spot examples of discrimination taking place so you do not unwittingly endorse it

In this section you will have the opportunity to explore some websites which can give you and employers detailed information about employment law.

Activity

  1. Start by gathering together a series of weblinks that are useful sources of information to you about employment law. will going to the External Links page of this module. If you haven't had the opportunity to do so already, take some time now to familiarise yourself with each of the websites and their general purpose. (Note that all of the websites have been chosen because of their high level of relevance to this topic and many of them will be invaluable to you in the completion of your assignment.)

  2. Next, choose one topic from the 'more than work' pages which you have just read which you would like to explore further. This could be a specific act such as the Data Protection Act 1998 or a more general area such as race discrimination. To make the activity more relevant, I would advise that you choose something which you are least familiar with.

  3. Spend some time mapping out your questions about the topic (ie who does it affect, when did it come into force, are there any genuine occupational requirements etc).

  4. Now choose three of the websites to help you explore your chosen topic.

  5. Finally reflect on which of the websites were most helpful in enabling you to explore your chosen topic. When doing this you might like to think about their currency, clarity, accessibility and comprehensiveness.

  6. Post a comment on the forum about this exercise, and comment on other students' posts.