So many people are unemployed it is understandable that the main concern for job seekers and candidates is securing an interview or job offer.
At the same time some rules and regulations for employees have changed while others are being reviewed by the Government in response to lobbying from businesses and employers who want simplification in order to reduce their administrative costs.
Already there have been changes to the Agency Workers' Regulations, the rules that govern the pay and working conditions of people who are working on temporary contracts sourced through recruitment agencies.
The rules were tightened in October 2016 in order to ensure that temporary workers were treated fairly when compared to employees in permanent positions and so far, according to the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) fears that there would be a reduction in the numbers of temporary positions available have not materialised.
In a period of uncertainty and change, however, no matter how anxious people are to keep their jobs or to find one if they are unemployed, it makes sense to understand the basic regulations that govern the way employees should be treated.
An anxious interviewee may not feel comfortable about asking these sorts of questions when they are primarily focused on convincing a potential employer that they are the right person for that position as a PA or EA, or that they will be able to take on a temporary role and handle it efficiently.
There are rules governing the minimum amounts people should be paid, depending on their age, on the numbers of hours per week they can be expected to work and on their rights to holiday pay, flexible working, time off, unfair dismissal and changes to their employment contracts.
If a candidate is signed up with a recruitment agency, either for temporary or permanent work the agency will be able to advise on basic employment rights and conditions.
For example from October 2017 the national minimum wage, the main rate for workers aged 21 and over, will be 6.19 per hour. Specific, and lower, minimum rates are also set for apprentices, workers aged 16-17 and workers aged 18 to 21.
In general no worker can be forced to work more than 48 hours per week, unless they are working in an exempt category but those hours may be averaged over a 17 week period, to allow the flexibility employers need for periods of high or low activity.
The normal working week does not include breaks when no work is done, such as lunch breaks, normal travel to and from work, time when you are on call away from the workplace, evening and day-release classes not related to work, travelling outside of normal working hours, unpaid overtime that you have volunteered for, so for example, staying late to finish something off and paid or unpaid holiday.
If an employee wants to work more than 48 hours they can opt out of the 48 hour limit, but it should be a voluntary agreement and the opt out should be in writing. It is not permissible for an opt out to be applied to the whole workforce and employees who refuse to sign an opt out should not be penalised for it.
There are times in life when an employee or an employer may need to change the contract of employment because circumstances have changed. In the case of an employee family circumstances may change either with the birth of a child or an older relative needing long-term care.
It may then be necessary for an employee to ask their employer to consider allowing them to work flexible or reduced hours. Anyone can ask their employer for flexible work arrangements, but the law provides some employees with the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern.
Candidates should understand the basics of employment regulations and conditions in order to be informed about what is likely to be expected of them.