If you have permission to work, working hours in term time must not exceed 10 or 20 hours a week, and you can work full time outside term time. However, it is important that you check any limits on work that your university, college or school imposes or recommends and that you do not exceed them.
A ‘week’ means any seven-day period starting on a Monday. You are responsible for ensuring that you do not exceed your weekly working hours, so it’s essential to keep detailed records of your working hours. This is especially important if you work irregular hours or if you have more than one employer (inside or outside the UK) because employers may not know about work you do elsewhere.
‘Term time’ means the period when your Student sponsor expects you to be studying. ‘Outside term time’ means any other time. For example, the period before your course starts and after it ends, and vacations. You can usually find term dates on your institution's website or in your course information. If you can’t find details of your course term dates on the website or information is contradictory, ask your Student sponsor for confirmation before starting full-time work to avoid breaching your work condition, even if it is by accident.
If you are a research student, you should ask your faculty, department or supervisor about how term time is defined for you – some institutions permit full-time work during agreed holidays or after submission of your viva, others do not. You must provide information about your term time to your employer.
Working hours and pay
Your pay and your working hours are separate. This means that you can work during a time when you get holiday pay for a different job. This is because only your hours actively working are counted. Make sure to check that your contract allows you to work for another employer.
For example, you have a job in a shop for 20 hours a week. When you are not working in the shop, because you are on leave and you are getting holiday pay, you can work up to 20 hours a week in term time on a short-term contract as a school assistant. Your hours of work must not exceed 20 a week. But you can get holiday pay at the same time as pay for your school assistant work.
The same principle applies to any extra money your employer pays you. Examples include but are not limited to: back pay, income tax credit after emergency tax, bonus payments, reimbursed expenses, increments for a retrospective pay increase. Extra money you receive for these reasons does not affect the number of hours you have worked or are working.
The UK government has more information about holiday pay on their website.