The Impact of Coronavirus on Student Jobs

How will the Coronavirus impact my student job?

Many students have a job whilst at university. Around 59% of students do some sort of paid work whilst they are studying, including 45% with a part-time job and 13% with a full-time job. Many of these jobs are in hospitality, such as restaurants, or retail, such as shop assistants. Unfortunately, these are some of the sectors which have been hardest hit by Covid-19. Many restaurants and bars are closing, and employees are worried about what this could mean for their pay.

Do I still get paid?

If you are on a contract, and your place of work closes, you should still be paid (according to the ACAS). You may be asked to take your annual leave during this time (if you are entitled to it), but the employer must give you appropriate notice before enforcing annual leave. The exception to this is if you have a ‘lay off’ clause in your contract, which would allow the employer to tell you to stay off work without pay. Even if there is a ‘lay off’ clause, you should still be given five days guaranteed pay. Overall, make sure you check your contract to find out what you are entitled to. Most students we have spoken to are still being paid, despite the fact that their work is closed.

What about Zero-Hours Contract?

Unfortunately, a zero hours contract means you probably won’t be entitled to pay. This is something that we know many students are suffering from. Please make sure you are financially prepared if you are laid off on a zero hours contract. Check out our student money guide if you need help saving money during this time, or visit one of the great money saving websites such as Save the Student.

Do I get paid if I am sick or self-isolating?

If you are sick, you should be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) of £94.25 / week. Similarly, if you are potentially sick / required to self-isolate for 14 days, you will also be entitled to statutory sick pay. However, the requirement for SSP is that you earn at least £118 / week. If you earn above this, you should be entitled to SSP, even if you are on a zero hours contract.

Make sure you know your rights, particularly with self-isolation. If you tell the employer you have followed NHS 111 advice and are self-isolating for 14 days, this should entitle you to SSP if you are eligible.

The Good News

To summarise, most students who are in a part-time job should still be paid their entire salary if their workplace shuts down. If you have a ‘lay off’ clause, you should still be paid for five full days. If you are self-isolating or are ill and cannot go to work, then you should still be paid sick pay if eligible.

How has the Coronavirus impacted the UK Graduate Job Market?

The UK job market has been significantly impacted by Covid-19. With offices closing down, many employers are halting their interview process until the uncertainty subsides. But what does this mean for graduate students looking for a job?

What are employers doing?

Many companies appear to be closing their offices for the foreseeable future, with firms such as Deloitte telling all staff to work remotely. The government is introducing stricter measures to attempt to combat the virus, meaning more office closures are likely in the coming weeks.

This could cause issues with recruitment. Video interviews are still taking place, but most face-to-face interviews have stopped. Unfortunately, many employers will want to meet you in person before offering the job. From our research, recent graduates have seen their interviews put on hold for a few weeks until the crisis is over. Other candidates have found employers simply refusing to recruit until the uncertainty has finished.

If you are a graduate looking for a job, or an undergraduate wanting an internship or job for next year, then there is no need to panic. The lack of employment opportunities will only be a short-term issue. In fact, when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the UK job market will likely boom, with thousands of new job openings becoming available.

What are students doing?

Whilst employers are halting recruitment, job-seekers are also applying to jobs much less frequently. Compared to last year, there were 47% less job applications in February. Many candidates do not want to apply to jobs because of the uncertainty. Similarly, many international students have returned to their home countries, meaning there are bound to be less applications with a large proportion of students no longer in the UK.

Can we still apply for jobs?

Yes! As one student says: “I recently received an offer to interview for an investment consultancy position. I was surprised because I didn’t think interviews would be happening in the current climate. The interview is due to take place over Google Hangouts on Monday. I’ll let you know how it goes!”.

Evidently, job offers are still being made, and interviews are still taking place. So if you are looking for a job, there are definitely options out there. The important thing is not to worry about rejections. Most people have to go through hundreds of applications and interviews before they receive a graduate job offer. So if you are currently applying, don’t feel stressed about finding a job immediately. Take your time, and the jobs will come eventually!

The Good News

In these fairly dark times, it’s always good to look for the positives. For students looking for jobs, the coronavirus has certainly done one thing: Reduced the pressure. Your friends and family cannot blame you for not having a job during this period, most of them don’t even think companies are still hiring. If you cannot secure a graduate job or internship for next year, everyone will understand. In fact, there is much less pressure than in normal years, when some people feel they ‘have’ to secure a job before they graduate. Nowadays, everyone knows that the job market is not operating normally, meaning there is less pressure to find a job!

So keep on looking, and if you find a job then that’s amazing. But if not, don’t worry, and wait for the employment boom in a few months when the pandemic is over.