For someone who is new to the country it can sometimes be hard to know where to go for help. The system is different from other countries and rules and regulations change all the time, but there is always help at hand.
Please keep in mind that as a language school we can only give our students guidance on who to contact, but we can’t do any paperwork or negotiations for them.
Checking the law
The law here can be extremely different from the country where you come from. It is always best to check what your rights are.
The best place in the UK to do that is GOV.UK, where you can find information about all topics that relate to living in the country, including education, work, pension, taxes and immigration.
For help with work-related regulations Acas can be of help. It is an independent government agency that was created to help workers and employers and mediate between them when a problem appears. They can be contacted by phone, e-mail and letter. Acas also has a few offices spread out around the country, but call before visiting in case your local office follows a booking system.
When you have a problem at work the first thing you should do is contact your line manager (your direct boss) and explain the problem. Usually they will be able to solve it for you or direct you to the correct person within the company.
Most mid-sized and large companies have an HR (human resources) department that deals with problems at work. You can usually reach them by e-mail if talking on the phone is hard for you.
Sometimes HR will give you official company forms to fill in, or they will ask you to contact someone in particular. Follow the steps they tell you to solve your problem as soon as possible.
If talking to your line manager and HR doesn’t help, you can go to outside sources for help.
Your first stop should be Citizens Advice (sometimes called CAB, Citizens Advice Bureau). You can visit their website if you want to check something quickly or you can visit one of their offices. They are all over the country, and usually can be found in Council buildings like town halls and libraries. If you want to check the section regarding problems at work of their website, you can go here. They will be able to tell you what steps to follow next and who to contact depending on your problem.
Getting lawyers involved
Sometimes talking to HR and mediation with Acas doesn’t work and you need to get a lawyer involved. You can always ask friends for personal recommendations, but if you don’t know any you can go to the Law Society to find a solicitor near you. Their website also has an informative section dealing with work issues.
We hope you have no need for this short guide and everything goes well at work!