Employment and Labor Regulations in the UK


The United Kingdom has a diverse economy, and for many people around the world, the UK is a popular place to find work and get a job. The country has a thorough and sophisticated set of employment laws that have evolved over the years in a way that employment protection is guaranteed. Even though high-ranking jobs come with added benefits and security, there are certain sectors of the economy where employment laws are not being enforced properly. In this article, we will be looking into the labor legislation of the UK, along with the types of employment contracts, wages, and salaries, as well as working hours and employment leaves.

Employment Law and Employment Contracts in the UK

Over the years, the UK has managed to develop a comprehensive set of employment laws that are aimed to protect the workers. Institutional regulations are in place that oversee key areas associated with the worker such as pay and wages, holiday entitlements and sick leave, as well as termination. Even though the constitutional laws recognize the rights of workers, inequality persists when it comes to the implementation and realization of these rights. The employment laws date back to the 19th century when Trade Unions were legalized in 1871. Labor legislation that address workers include:

  • the Contracts of Employment Act 1963
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  •  National Minimum Wage Act 1998
  • Equality Act 2010

According to the labor code of the UK, all employees are to receive a contract of employment which is a formal agreement establishing the basis of the working relationship. It is required by law for the employer to provide the employment contract within 2 months of the new hire. The written employment contract includes explicitly agreed terms like the job title and description, the starting date of the employee, the salary offered and intervals between payments, hours of work and holiday/sick pay entitlements, pension agreements, notice period, and disciplinary rules or dismissal procedures.

Wages and Salary in the UK

The National Minimum Wage is followed throughout the UK for most workers. The national minimum wage is adjusted each year for inflation and purchasing power parity – as of 1st April 2021, the hourly rate is as follows:

  • Apprentices – £4.30 
  • Workers aged under 18 – £4.62
  • Aged 18 to 20 – £6.56
  • Employees aged 21 to 22 – £8.36
  • Aged 23 and over – £8.91

The payments are transferred to the employees either every week or at the end of every month, depending on the employer. The employer is required by law to give a pay slip with each payment. Labor regulations in the UK state that the working hours on average consist of 48 hours/week, but the employee can choose to work extra hours as long as they are not being forced.


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