United Kingdom

Hiring guide in United Kingdom

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Knowledge base Hiring guides United Kingdom

What should I know about hiring in the UK?

Understanding UK hiring procedures and the regulations you must follow under UK law is essential if you want to grow your business and have a presence in the UK. 

There is a process involved in hiring someone in the UK, and chances are good that many of the stages are similar to those you would take if recruiting someone in your nation. However, when doing so for the first time in the UK, you may need to take a few more steps into account.

First and foremost, all employers are obligated to give their employees a written employment contract specifying the expected duties, work hours, remuneration, and benefits.

The minimum salary, hours worked, paid time off, and termination policies are also essential factors to consider. Ultimately, businesses stand to gain a great deal by recruiting new workers from the United Kingdom due to the country’s abundant supply of skilled workers at competitive wages and central location.

Why is the UK a good choice for finding remote employees?

The education system in the United Kingdom is highly regarded, and as a result, many workers in the country have advanced degrees. This can help businesses that are in need of highly competent workers.

In addition, the rights of employees, including those who work remotely, are protected by the UK’s robust employment laws and regulations. This can give companies more security when hiring remote workers.

Overall, the UK is a good choice for finding remote employees due to its combination of English proficiency, high-quality education, convenient time zone, reliable infrastructure, and legal protections for employees.

How can Native Teams help you hire in the UK?

Native Teams’ Employer of Record solution allows businesses to hire personnel in any country without the need to form a separate legal company and ensures compliance with local employment laws. In addition, we can help you comply with all applicable UK laws and regulations during the entire process of hiring new staff members, paying them, and providing them with any other financial incentives.

Hire your first UK employee with Native Teams.

Legal requirements for hiring in the UK

Staying aligned with the latest labour laws and regulations can be daunting. That’s why, this section will outline the necessary legal requirements employers need to follow when hiring in the UK. 

Legal framework

UK labour legislation governs the relationships among workers, employers, and labour unions. It includes fundamental employment rights derived from legislation, common law, and equity.

Types of employment contracts

The contracts in the UK encompass part-time or full-time arrangements, determined by agreed-upon working hours, and fixed-term or indefinite contracts, structured around the duration of employment commitment. Additionally, zero-hours contracts provide a distinct approach to working arrangements.

Part-time and full-time contracts don’t have fixed hour criteria, but generally, full-time employees work 35 hours or more per week. Fixed-term contracts, in contrast to indefinite ones, have a specific duration. It’s important to note that fixed-term contracts cannot exceed 4 years, beyond which they transition to indefinite status.

Zero-hours contracts, also known as casual contracts, offer flexibility with ‘piece work’ or ‘on-call’ arrangements, often utilised for roles like interpreters.

Content of an employment contract

Employment contracts should include essential details like the employer and employee’s information, job description, and work locations. They should also cover payment terms, working hours, holiday entitlement, notice periods, and any probationary period. Additionally, contracts may outline international work terms and required training for the employee.

Download a free employment contract in the UK through Native Teams.

Oral, written or electronic employment contracts

Employers must provide employees with a document detailing the crucial aspects of their employment upon commencing work, known as a ‘written statement of employment particulars.’ It’s vital to understand that this document doesn’t constitute the employment contract but serves as an outline. 

This statement comprises two components: the principal statement, provided on the first day of work, and a more comprehensive written statement, which must be issued within two months of employment commencement.

Probationary period

The probationary period should not exceed 5 days for positions lasting less than 6 months. For roles extending beyond 6 months, it generally lasts around 30 days, although typically, around 5 days suffice. 

Jobcentre Plus will verify that the employee has volunteered for the trial and ensure it meets the eligibility criteria. While the length of probation periods may vary, they typically span 3 to 6 months.

Working hours

Employees shouldn’t work more than 48 hours per week on average over 17 weeks. This rule doesn’t apply to self-employed individuals or those that have flexible work arrangements. 

Night work

Employees who work at least 3 hours during the night are considered night employees. Usually, this period is from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless the employee and employer agree otherwise in writing. If a different night period is agreed upon, it must be 7 hours long, including midnight to 5 a.m.

Breaks and types of leaves

Workers aged 18 and older typically have three types of breaks: rest breaks during work hours, daily rest periods, and weekly rest periods. Employees working 6 hours or more a day are entitled to a rest break lasting at least 30 minutes.

Employees must have a rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. Additionally, employees should get a weekly rest period of at least 24 continuous hours, which includes the daily rest period.

Annual leave

For most employees working a 5-day workweek, the standard requirement is to receive 28 days of paid annual leave per year, which equals 5.6 weeks of holiday. Part-time employees who work consistent hours throughout the year also have the right to at least 5.6 weeks of paid holiday, but the number of days may be less than 28, depending on their work schedule.

Public holidays

In the UK, public holidays, known as bank holidays, see most businesses and non-essential services closed. In England and Wales, public holidays include New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, and many more. 


Employees can be paid weekly or monthly for a maximum of 31 days. During this time, they must earn at least the minimum wage, which depends on their age. They need to be at least school-leaving age to earn the National Minimum Wage (£8.60) and 23 or older for the National Living Wage, which is currently set at £11.44 per hour.

To calculate the salary and taxes in the UK, click here.

Sick leave

Employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which amounts to £109.40 per week for up to 28 weeks. To be eligible for SSP, employees must meet certain criteria. 

They must have an employment contract and have completed some work under their contract. Additionally, they need to be sick for 4 or more days in a row, including non-working days, which is termed a ‘period of incapacity for work’. Furthermore, employees must earn an average of at least £123 per week and provide notice and proof of illness when required.

Parental leave

The employee and their partner have the opportunity to opt for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) under various circumstances, including having a baby, using a surrogate, adopting a child, or fostering a child they plan to adopt. ShPP is compensated at a rate of £172.48 per week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Within the first year after their child’s birth or placement, they can divide up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between themselves.

Paternity and maternity leave

Employees who meet the criteria are granted a maximum of 52 weeks of maternity leave, divided into two segments: the initial 26 weeks termed as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and the subsequent 26 weeks as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’. Maternity leave can commence as early as 11 weeks before the anticipated week of childbirth, except if the baby arrives earlier than expected.

Following childbirth, employees must take a minimum of 2 weeks off (or 4 weeks if employed in a factory). Partners may qualify for 1 or 2 weeks of paid Paternity Leave when their partner gives birth, adopts a child, or has a baby through surrogacy.

Methods of employment termination

Either the employee or the employer can terminate an employment contract under various circumstances. These include scenarios such as the death of either party if they are individuals, the natural expiration of a fixed-term contract, or the retirement of the employee upon reaching the age of 65. 

Additionally, termination can occur by mutual agreement between the employee and the employer or by the employee in response to a serious breach of contract by the employer. Dismissal, termination via a court decision, or the giving of notice by either party are also common grounds for ending an employment contract.

Ordinary dismissal by employer

The employee generally has the right to terminate the employment contract without providing a specific reason, although they are obligated to adhere to the notice period as stipulated by law or agreed upon within the contract terms. 

Employers have the authority to terminate employment contracts under several categories of ordinary terminations, including situations such as inadequate performance, prolonged illness, redundancy, immediate dismissal, compliance with legal restrictions, substantial reasons, and when it becomes impossible to continue employing the individual.

Notice period and challenging the dismissal

The statutory notice periods are determined based on the length of an employee’s tenure. For employees with a service period of between one month and 2 years, at least 1 week’s notice is required. 

Employees with a tenure between 2 and 12 years are owed one week’s notice for each year of employment, while those with 12 years or more of service must receive a notice period of 12 weeks. During the probationary period, the notice requirement typically stands at 1 week.

In the event of dismissal, employees maintain the right to appeal the decision, providing an opportunity for reconsideration of whether the decision should be reversed or altered.

Rights and obligations of unemployed individuals

The employee might qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) to assist them while they search for employment. The amount they receive is limited, and it depends on their age: individuals under 24 may receive up to £67.20, while those 25 or older may be entitled to up to £84.80.

Severance pay

If the employee has been with their current employer for a minimum of two years, they generally qualify for statutory redundancy pay. The amount they receive is calculated based on both their age and the length of their service. 

For each full year under 22, they’re entitled to half a week’s pay, while for each full year aged 22 or older but under 41, they receive one week’s pay. Those aged 41 or older are eligible for one and a half week’s pay for each full year of service. However, the calculation is limited to a maximum of 20 years of service.

Prohibition of competition

Within the UK employment law framework, which encompasses Northern Ireland, there isn’t a specific provision addressing non-compete clauses. Consequently, there’s no defined statutory definition for such clauses. 

However, these clauses fall under the purview of the common law principle known as ‘restraint of trade’. This principle asserts that employees should have the liberty to pursue their profession and apply their expertise without unjustifiable obstruction.

Remote working policy

This opportunity for remote work is open to all employees, not solely limited to parents or caregivers, following a minimum of 26 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer.

Once an agreement is reached, the employer is required to formally notify the employee, detailing the approved modifications and specifying the commencement date for remote work. Additionally, adjustments to the terms and conditions of the employee’s contract should be made accordingly.

Responsibilities within a remote work arrangement

Employees working remotely should receive the same pay and benefits as those working on-site in similar roles. Employers must also ensure that remote workers can take their breaks without problems.

Employers are also responsible for keeping remote employees safe and healthy, just like those working in the office. They must follow all the rules and laws about remote work, like paying at least the minimum wage and keeping accurate records of hours worked.

Health and safety at home

While direct home visits are usually unnecessary, employers must make sure that their remote employees have a safe and healthy place to work. When assessing risks for remote employees, factors like stress, mental well-being, proper use of equipment like computers, and the overall work environment should be considered.

What are the advantages of hiring employees from the UK vs other countries?

Hiring employees from the UK can offer several advantages compared to hiring from other countries. Firstly, due to the UK’s strong educational system and skilled workforce, employers can often find candidates with high levels of education and expertise in various fields.

Furthermore, hiring from the UK may provide cultural compatibility for businesses operating in English-speaking markets or those with a strong UK presence. Employees from the UK may also bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the workplace, contributing to innovation and creativity within the organisation.

Plus, the UK has a well-established legal and regulatory framework for employment, which can provide clarity and stability for both employers and employees. This can help mitigate risks and ensure compliance with labour laws and regulations.

Why use Native Teams for hiring in the UK?

Native Teams lets you employ team members ‘like a local’ meaning you get all the benefits of a global team, wherever you are based. Here are the reasons why you should use Native Teams for hiring:

  • No paperwork: We will handle all the necessary paperwork for you.
  • Save on taxes: We help you handle your taxes.
  • No company set up: You can expand your business using our company entitles.
  • Online onboarding: We’re here to ensure your onboarding process is trouble-free.
  • No accounting: We will handle all of your accounting needs, including invoicing, payroll, and more.
  • Increase your profit: We assist you in growing your business and maximizing your profits.
  • Compliance expertise: we can assist your company in navigating the regulatory environments and ensure you meet all relevant requirements.
  • Local support: We can assist you in understanding and complying with the relevant local laws.
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*Note: The provided information was accurate at the time of writing.

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