United Kingdom

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in United Kingdom. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

In the United Kingdom, the notice period for individual dismissal is generally determined in the employment contract. Without an express agreement, the statutory minimum notice periods will apply.

The reason for an individual’s dismissal should always be confirmed in writing, regardless of how long they’ve worked for the employer.

The statutory notice periods are as follows:

  • No less than 1 week if the employee's period of continuous employment is less than 2 years
  • No less than 1 week for each year of continuous employment between 2 and 12 years
  • No less than 12 weeks if employment has lasted 12 years or longer

No notice is required if the employee has been working for less than 1 month (unless the employment contract provides otherwise). 

Employers have to pay wages for the duration of the notice period and provide a statutory redundancy payment (if the dismissal is for the reason of redundancy and the employee is entitled to such a payment).

Work Permits

Because the UK has left the EU, freedom of movement between the UK and EU has ended and the UK has introduced a points-based immigration system. Under the points-based immigration system, with the exception of Irish citizens, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK.

Persons who want to be employed in the UK are required to obtain a Skilled Worker visa that allows employees to stay for a maximum of 5 years. This type of visa is issued to individuals who have been offered a skilled job in the UK. Employees must be hired by a licensed sponsor to be able to apply for a work permit in the UK. This visa can be extended for up to 5 years, as long as the total stay does not exceed 6 years. After 5 years, visa holders are able to  apply to settle permanently in the UK with the right to live, work and study indefinitely, and apply for benefits.

Employers must check that a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK before they are employed. A right-to-work check must be conducted before an employer hires an employee, to ensure the employee is legally allowed to do the work in question. Employers may face civil penalties if they employ an illegal employee and have not carried out a correct right-to-work check.

Paid Annual Leave

Maternity leave is 52 weeks long and comprises ordinary leave for the first 26 weeks and additional leave for the remaining 26 weeks. It is paid at 90% of an employee's average weekly pretax earnings for the first 6 weeks of leave and GBP 184.03 or 90% of average weekly earnings (the lower value) for the remaining 33 weeks.

If an employee does not qualify for SMP, she can get a maternity allowance for up to 39 weeks, depending on her pay level, employment status, and marital status, if she has paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

Working Hours

In the United Kingdom, the labor law states that the standard workweek is 48 hours, averaged over a 17-week period. Night shift work cannot exceed eight hours daily. Employees under 18 years cannot work for more than 40 hours a week or eight hours a day.

There are also instances in which individuals may have more than one job, in which case they may meet the 48-hour "working time directive" by:

  • Signing an opt-out agreement
  • Reducing hours to meet the 48-hour limit

Employees are allowed to work remotely by submitting an application to their employers if they’ve worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. The application must contain a statement that it is a statutory request and details of how the employee wants to work flexibly and when they want to start. Employers can reject the application on objective grounds.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is 52 weeks long and comprises ordinary leave for the first 26 weeks and additional leave for the remaining 26 weeks. It is paid at 90% of an employee's average weekly pretax earnings for the first 6 weeks of leave and GBP 184.03 or 90% of average weekly earnings (the lower value) for the remaining 33 weeks.

If an employee does not qualify for SMP, she can get a maternity allowance for up to 39 weeks, depending on her pay level, employment status, and marital status, if she has paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage a worker receives depends on their age and apprenticeship status. Current hourly rates applicable from April 2023 are the following:

  • 23 and over: GBP 10.42 (British pounds)
  • 21 to 22: GBP 10.18
  • 18 to 20: GBP 7.49
  • Under 18: GBP 5.28
  • Apprentice: GBP 5.28

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within United Kingdom.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in United Kingdom.